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Home » Market Data and Trends » RV Ownership Trends

RVIA News Release

Contact: Kevin Broom
Director of Public Relations
703-620-6003, ext. 304

New RVIA Research Shows
Record Level of RV Ownership

RVIA's RV Consumer Demographic Profile shows RV ownership has reached a new peak and also offers promising news on future RV purchase intentions.

The research, conducted by Dr. Richard Curtin, RV industry analyst and director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, reveals the number of RV-owning households has grown to a new peak of 8.9 million households, up from 7.9 million in 2005. According to the report, 8.5% of U.S. households now own RVs, up from 8.0% in 2005.

"Today's record RV ownership levels reflect the enduring appeal of the RV lifestyle despite recent economic challenges," said RVIA President Richard Coon. "I expect RV ownership to continue growing as more and more people learn how RVing is a cost-effective and fun way to spend time outdoors with family and friends."

"The data indicate that the basic appeal of the RV lifestyle remains as strong as ever," said Dr. Richard Curtin, who conducted the study. Curtin, an economist, is director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan. "Consumers want to enjoy the same cherished experiences of RVing while staying within new budget constraints."

The RV industry is addressing consumer needs by "right-sizing" RVs to offer the mix of amenities and price that consumers want.

In addition to showing that RV ownership rates have climbed steadily, the new RV Consumer Demographic Profile also offers promising news on future RV purchase intentions.

When RV purchase intentions are combined across current owners, former owners and new market entrants, a total of 21% of all U.S. households stated intentions to purchase an RV at some point in the future. This represents only a slight decline from the 23% rate in 2005, and is ahead of the 16% rate in 2001.

"These purchase intentions expressed in the new RV Consumer Demographic Profile are very encouraging for the industry," said Sid Johnson, chairman of RVIA's Market Information Committee, and Director of Marketing at Jayco. "These survey results were collected in a challenging financial environment yet they are very close to the 2005 data when the economy and consumer outlook was much brighter. Overall, the results indicate continued strong demand for RVs in the years ahead."

Seventy percent of current RV owners plan to purchase another RV to replace their current unit in the future. When compared to the purchase intentions of owners in prior surveys, the 2011 data indicates current owners have a stronger intention to purchase a new RV when they do buy again.

Among new market entrants, defined as households that have never owned an RV in the past, 14% plan a future purchase with more than a third intending to purchase a new RV.

Among former owners, 27% plan to purchase another RV in the future. Here age was a determining factor with younger former owners (age 18-34) more likely than older former owners to purchase another RV. This underscores the need for the RV industry to stay in touch with recent former owners and to continue to present them ownership options.

Fast facts about RVers from the Profile:

  • The typical RVer was 48 years old in 2011, one year younger than the 49 years recorded in 2005 and 2001.
  • Median income of RVers: $62,000
  • 39% of RVers had children under 18 living at home.
  • RV owners aged 35-to-54 posted the largest gains in ownership rates, rising to 11.2% in 2011 from 9.0% in 2005.
  • Ownership also edged higher among those aged 55 or older, rising to 9.3% from 8.6% in 2005.
  • Among those under age 35, ownership rates were flat - 4.9% in 2011 vs. 5.0% in 2005.

The RV Consumer Demographic Profile summarizes the findings from the eighth national survey of RV owners sponsored by RVIA. The 2011 survey included 4,903 completed surveys conducted from February to May 2011. The sample was selected to be representative of all U.S. households.

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association is the national association representing nearly 400 manufacturers and component suppliers producing approximately 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States.

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