Within an 8-year span, the recreational vehicle industry grew by more than 200 percent. Although 2019 isn’t the most popular the industry has been, experts predict that 2020 will bring record-high sales numbers.
The question is, why has there been such a surge in RV popularity over the past decade? What’s pushing more Americans to hit the road on traveling homes?
Let’s examine some of the top factors that are responsible for the increase in popularity.
Millennials Are Turning Toward Wheeled Living Quarters
It’s been reported by some sources that millennials have pushed RV sales to record highs. More and more young people are turning to small homes that are mobile, less expensive, and versatile. There’s been a consumer shift from an emphasis on the stuff you collect to experiences, travel, and the people you meet.
Many RV brands have decided that in order to succeed in the upcoming years, they need to jump onboard this consumer mindset and advertise to the millennials that will make up the bulk of the buying population in the coming years.
Wondering what millennials like about RVs so much?
When asked, many of them claim that they like the option to own a home without saving up for a massive down payment. Considering that a third of adults under 30 are dealing with some kind of student loan debt, it makes sense that traditional homeownership is waning while alternative methods are becoming more popular.
Camping Is More Popular Than Ever
Another reason why RV sales are rising is simply because more families and individuals are embracing camping as a hobby. A survey conducted by Kampgrounds of America (KOA) found that camping is increasingly popular with young people, especially millennials and Gen X-ers.
Although owning an RV is obviously not a requirement to stay in a national park or a natural area, it’s certainly one that appeals to many campers who want to embrace the outdoors without sacrificing the comforts of home.
Thousands of life-long campers have made the switch to a more convenient, comfortable way of exploring nature. They can easily travel in an RV with their pets, children, cooking supplies, and anything else they might want to bring along.
Speaking of children, one of the main reasons why people claim they purchase an RV is that it makes it easier to travel with large groups of people or the whole family. Traditional camping options might be spacious, but sleeping outdoors requires a great deal of preparation and packing.
With an RV, kids and their parents can pile inside without much forethought. There’s space for everyone to sleep, and in most cases, parents feel more secure with their children sleeping safely inside rather than in a tent outdoors.
RV camping also means that you can give less thought to the weather before heading out on a trip.
Even if the forecast is dreary and rainy, you don’t want to worry about sacrificing your time setting up rain covers and worrying that mud will make its way into the tent. You can stay warm and dry without missing any of the best parts of the vacation.
The American Dream Is Changing
This might sound like a vague concept, and one that’s difficult to hammer down when analyzing RV sales, but it’s one we need to discuss in order to truly understand where this surge in sales is coming from.
A few decades ago, nearly everyone would describe the traditional “American Dream” as one comprised of a steady job, a family, and a house with a green lawn and a white picket fence. However, that’s not always the case nowadays.
In 2018, a survey was conducted to find out what most people would associate with the American Dream. “Homeownership” was only the third most common answer, preceded by “Equal Opportunity” (17.61 percent) and “Success Through Hard Work” (43.42 percent).
As millennials and Gen-Xers begin to redefine the work-life balance and the focus on materialism, there’s been a shift to a greater focus on success and achievement. In the eyes of some, RV life fits right into this new concept - it’s about working for what you want, then using your success to propel further dreams, goals, and explorations.
It’s impossible to separate the rise in RV sales from the societal shift that’s occurring in America. Millennials and Gen-Xers are dealing with more debt than ever, travel and camping is growing in popularity, and the American Dream is evolving into something new (and exciting!).
Have you tried traveling the United States in a mobile home before?
Maybe now is the time to jump on the trend and try living on wheels for a while, or at least for a fun trip!
Amy Price is Co-Founder of Cool Sunshine RV Park, the perfect destination for RV trips, located in Alamosa, CO. The RV Park and campgrounds here are equipped with first-class amenities. Being in the RV industry, Amy proactively assists travelers with all the required information about free RV camping spots. In her spare time, she prefers to unwind over a cup of coffee.