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Why RV sales are growing

The Surprising Boom in RV Sales: What’s Driving It?

Published on October 30th, 2020
Updated on February 19th, 2024

Have you noticed an increasing number of recreational vehicles (RVs) on the road lately? If you’re nodding your head, you’re definitely not alone.

And it’s not your imagination, as RV sales are growing fast.

RV sales have exploded in recent years, marking a significant shift in the way individuals and families are choosing to travel and vacation.

But what’s behind this surge?

Many factors lead to why RV sales are growing, which include:

  • Price of fuel
  • Trendiness
  • Increase in remote work options
  • Convenience
  • Safety

Each factor on its own will merit an increase in RV sales, but when two or more of these elements combine at the same time, sales will go through the roof.

From the allure of the open road to the comfort of having your own space while traveling, this article will explore the driving forces behind the growing popularity and increased sales of RVs.

The U.S. is currently seeing the “perfect storm” that increases interest in the RV lifestyle, so stick around to find out more.

What Is Driving High RV Sales?

RV sales’ current and future outlook is on the uptick, so getting in while the prices are still reasonable is a smart move. Next up are the top reasons new and used RV sales are growing.

Low Fuel Prices

A family vacation travel in an RV

RVs are notorious for horrible gas mileage, so any drop in fuel prices will get new buyers and current owners out on the road more often. With fuel costs at recent lows, it encourages RVers to take advantage of the savings.

Travel, especially for larger families, can be challenging. The cost of airfare may be out of budget, let alone adding in the price of hotels and eating out.

Cramming kids into the car for a long road trip may save on airfare, but without any room to spread out, everyone gets uncomfortable, and no one is ever ready at the same time for a rest stop or restaurant break.

RVs deliver big when it comes to vacation convenience, making them very attractive to people looking for both weekend excursions and months-long trips.

When fuel prices are low, a single airfare cost could cover the gas for an RV trip for the whole family.

Millennial Trends

Trends in younger adults can drive sales of any merchandise, and RVs are no exception.

Camper van “nomads” or Millenials with an itch to travel have been trending on social media for the past few years, and it’s not slowing down.

Many in the younger generation find it a financial necessity to live in an affordable RV over a costly apartment. Others may like the ability to move from place to place freely and post all their exciting adventures to followers.

Some people may want to spend more time outdoors but have more privacy and protection over being in a tent. Yet others may strive for a minimalist style of living that the RV life can provide.

No matter what started the trend for younger RV buyers to get into the market, the fact is they are here and not going away any time soon.

Remote Work

Most full-time RVers were generally retired older people who had pension and social security checks coming in every month.

Occasionally there were people in their 30s-50s who owned a business that didn’t need onsite attention or had a “cushy” work-from-home type of job that let them roam the country in an RV.

Most other RVers were people with full-time jobs who snuck in weekend trips or took vacation time to use their recreational vehicle but were otherwise stuck close to home.

With the advent of hundreds of thousands of people now working remotely due to the quarantine, the opportunity to travel and work is a dream come true.

The transition to more jobs being done online or via mobile will only increase in the future.

The majority of people who can RV and pull in an income agree that they prefer freedom. Now, they can explore the country instead of being stuck in a home office looking out the same window with the same view day after day.

RV manufacturers are starting to cater to the needs of this current trend of remote workers. RV models, such as those from Keystone, are now coming complete with Wi-Fi systems in the build.

Remote workers can use these systems with confidence and won’t have to rely on spotty campground internet or expensive data costs to complete their work.

As RV remote workers increase in numbers and technology develops better internet access systems, more and more manufacturers will add it to their builds to entice buyers to choose their brand.

Convenient Travel Option

Camping and traveling in a motor home

Sure, RVing takes some practice and requires work, but once you know what you’re doing, the convenience of RV travel beats out flying or driving in most instances.

Now, with international travel and cruising at a standstill or very limited, the ability to explore domestic tourist destinations in an RV is the perfect alternative.

With most campgrounds, resorts, state and national parks, and other areas opening back up for travel, people are flocking to get out there and see and experience something new.

RV rentals and sales are reflecting this growing demand for local travel. Seeing the sites while traveling with the “comforts of home” is so convenient, especially when you own your RV.

RVs can be an extremely cost-effective method of travel. They offer the ability to bring and cook your food, which is ideal for people with food allergies.

You save on hotel room charges and all the annoying packing and unpacking. You can also find many campsites that are free or very low cost.

Over time, you’ll fill your RV with all the things you love and need while on the road. You won’t be unpacking and reloading on every trip. Many long-time RVers find they can jump in a go on a moment’s notice, which is the most fun of all!

More Freedom and Safety in Current Times

Everyone across the globe can agree that lockdowns are a very real and very tough way to deal with the current health crisis.

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Unfortunately, we also see that a lack of new sites and experiences can lead to mental breakdowns or fatigue. People are reluctant to travel, as many trips include the need to fly or gather in tight quarters with crowds of other people.

RVs provide the ability to travel, yet allow families to have the space they need to safely social distance.

RV sales will only increase as more and more people see the benefits of not exposing themselves to random germs or viruses in hotel rooms, car rentals, airports, trains, buses, or other typical vacation travel need accommodations.

You can maintain and control your RV’s sanitation and limit exposure to others, which makes RV travel very safe healthwise.

RV Sales and Increased Interest in Local Travel

A camper camping at the lake

Aside from the current health concerns keeping travelers close to home, RV sales are also rising due to people realizing there are so many local attractions they are overlooking.

People want to know more about their state, and all the “secret hideouts” RVing allows you to find. You never know where that wrong turn may lead, which is exciting!

Travel close to home is also more convenient and less costly in an RV. More and more people are discovering this travel method fits their needs and are rushing to RV dealerships or scouring for sale ads to find a camper that suits their requirements.

Some RVers like to follow an antiquing trail to find hidden treasures, while others want to visit all the region’s wineries. Any interest you have will probably have a local destination that fits the bill for a fun RV trip that is also a learning experience.

From a gorgeous county park with RV facilities just down the road to a myriad of campgrounds that offer specific activities or amazing solitude, the choices are abundant for quick getaways.

Another reason people are embracing RV travel is the ability to control their agenda. With areas of civil unrest popping up across the world, being able to pivot instantly and remove yourself and your family from potential harm’s way provides peace of mind.

RVers find the ability to extend their stay in places that intrigue them is a simple process. On the other hand, when places aren’t as interesting or as safe as you expect, you can easily pack up and move on.

RV Upgrade

The final factor behind an increase in RV sales is that current RV owners find their camper isn’t providing the space or amenities they require.

Often, new RVers upgrade their camper after several years of ownership once they master the RVing lifestyle and understand precisely what they do and do not need in their RV.

While many RV owners choose to increase their camper’s size, others find that driving a huge motorcoach is stressful, or it’s hard to reserve one of the few spots in their favorite campground that can accommodate an RV of that size.

Downsizing is just as common as upgrading in length, as well as people deciding to swap out a motorhome for a travel trailer and truck or vice-versa. The constant flux of current RV owners trading in their camper for something new adds to the sales crunch in this already buzzing RV market.

Key Takeaways

  • The global recreational vehicle (RV) market is expected to grow from USD 55.90 billion in 2021 to USD 87.89 billion by 2028, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.7% during the forecast period.
  • The market faced a decline of -5.9% in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with demand decreasing across all regions.
  • RVs, designed for temporary accommodation, are typically used for camping, seasonal use, recreational activities, and travel. They are either towable or motorized and may include one or two decks. Major types include caravans, motorhomes, camper trailers, and travel trailers.
  • Factors contributing to market growth include increasing demand for road trips as an escape from quarantine, a rise in active campers, and a growing demand for comfortable travel & accommodation for large passenger groups.
  • A study from Go RVing, Inc. indicates market growth potential, with 25% of current RV owners under the age of 35 intending to upgrade or purchase new RVs in the near future.
  • International agreements and environmental regulations on carbon dioxide emissions and fuel efficiency significantly impact the RV industry.

Final Thoughts

RV sales will continue to keep growing as long fuel costs remain low, remote work possibilities expand, and global travel limits are in place. Personal safety remains a high priority, and people are learning how convenient and fun RV travel can be.

No matter why you decide an RV is right for you, the benefits it brings to your life are more than worth the investment. New or used, the RV market is hot right now, so if you see a model you love, don’t hesitate to buy.

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide

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