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While many industries have taken a hit during the pandemic, the RV industry seems to be an exception. During long quarantines and lockdowns, many people turned to outdoor activities like RVing to pass their time, resulting in a sudden surge of campers on the road.
RV manufacturers have experienced strong consumer growth over the past ten years, but the past two years have seen a record number of sales, with a projected 19.5 percent increase from 2020 to 2021. Although this has resulted in longer wait times and backlogs, the growing popularity of the RV industry has brought new perspectives and insights to the camper community.
As more people seek a remote style of living, RVing is the perfect way to find a balance between work and play. Let’s take a look into the rise of the RV industry and why RVs seem to be continuously growing in popularity.
Why Are People Buying RVs?
According to Forbes Magazine, RV sales in the U.S. have climbed by more than 15 percent in the last two years. Millennial interest in social media trends has certainly been a great part of that, but the COVID-19 pandemic is largely responsible for the surge in RVers. Outdoor recreation is changing for several reasons, including:
In recent years, living “off the grid” has become an increasingly popular notion due to the millennial-based trend of seeking life beyond the norm. Many young people and families have built tiny homes in rural areas, while others have resorted to living out of a van to pursue full-time travel. RVs have, therefore, caught millennial interest as they are seen as an exceptional way of bypassing society’s expectations of living while still indulging in comforts and amenities like kitchens and appliances.
One of the ways that the pandemic changed the workforce for good was by normalizing remote work. By making work-from-home jobs more accessible and feasible to the average person, many people have found themselves pursuing more passions outside of work. For instance, remote jobs allow the employee to work from anywhere they choose – including any country, meaning that a person could travel while also working full-time.
Over 75% of RV owners have pets, demonstrating a clear link between RVs and the need for pet-friendly travel options. As cities open back up to welcome travelers, more people are looking for an easy and affordable way to travel long-term without leaving their pets behind. RVs allow pet-owners to bring their furry friends along for the ride, eliminating the need to look for pet-friendly hotels and living spaces.
What Happens When RVers Want More?
Although it certainly is a good thing that more people are getting in on the RV scene, as it means adding exciting new perspectives and ideas to the community, having a sudden influx of consumers means more changes to the RV lifestyle. Here are some ways that the increase of RVers on the road has affected the RV industry:
As more people seek the on-the-road lifestyle, consumer demand for RVs has risen, driving prices up significantly. In fact, J.D. Power and Associates measured a nearly 40% increase in travel trailer prices from September to October 2020 alone. While the pandemic banned common tourist activities, many people turned to the RV lifestyle to fulfill their need for travel. This has caused basic RV models to be sold at what used to be premium prices.
The rise in lumber and steel prices has also had an impact on the increase in RV prices. When these products cost more, RV manufacturers end up paying a higher price which is then passed on to the consumer. This has resulted in a large backlog of RV orders as manufacturers are hardly able to keep up with the demand.
With an increased number of RV owners also comes a need for space to put them all, which has caused RV campgrounds to fill up more than usual. Many RVers have found it more challenging to get a campground reservation or even find an empty boondocking location. Certain national parks that did not require reservations before now require them, making it even more difficult to catch a parking space.
Longer Waitlist for Repairs
RVs may be prone to breakdowns and issues in general, but more of them out on the road means a greater need for maintenance and repair work. The influx of new RVers on the streets has caused repair shops and mechanics to fill up quickly, making it hard to book appointments. Now, it could likely be several weeks before an RVer makes it into a mechanic’s schedule.
What Can RV Life Do for You?
The RV lifestyle may not be for everyone, but for a select few, it can be nothing short of exhilarating. In fact, the motorhome industry has become popular not only by trends but also by the widespread awareness of its mental, physical, and emotional benefits. RVs can provide you with the following:
- Better Mental Health – As living in an RV means more time spent in nature and away from electronics, this allows you to put more of a focus on building yourself and family and friend relationships. Many RVers experience an enhanced perspective once they head out on the road.
- Access to an Open-Minded Community – When you purchase an RV, you become part of a community of RVers that is open to new perspectives and ideas. Joining online forums and attending local RV shows can add to your experience of the RV lifestyle.
- Flexibility and Control – Having too much control over your life might seem daunting at first, but steering away from the crowd and becoming your own boss can quickly become a remarkable experience. RVing allows you to maintain a sense of flexibility between your career and personal life, providing you with more control and balance.
Are You Looking for an RV?
RV living is on the rise as an exciting new way to live, travel, or go on vacation. However, despite its increased popularity bringing several changes to the industry, RVs continue to be sought after as a way to detox from the hustle of daily life.
If you’re in the market for a new RV, see our guide detailing six things you should know before purchasing your first RV.