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What is an RV and who are the owners?
- An RV is a vehicle that combines transportation and temporary living quarters for travel, recreation and camping. The two main categories of RVs are motorhomes (motorized) and towables (towed behind the family car, van or pickup).
- Approximately 11 million U.S. households now own an RV. The upswing in RV ownership over the last 10 years is driven by strong interest from younger individuals and families who live an active outdoor lifestyle and Baby Boomers who are entering retirement.
- The typical RV owner is 48 years old, married, and has an above-average annual household income of $62,000. RV owners are likely to own their homes and spend an average of 3-4 weeks annually, industry research shows.
- More than 11% of U.S. households headed by 35-54-year-olds own an RV, exceeding the 9.3% ownership rates of those 55 and over.
Factors behind RV ownership trends
- Flexibility, comfort and convenience — RVs offer a convenient, hassle-free way to see America. With fully-equipped kitchens and baths, rooms that slide out at the touch of a button, central air and heat, flat-screen TVs, surround-sound stereos and more, today’s RVs provide travelers with all the amenities of home while on the road or at the campground. Innovative new products offer an optimal mix of size and amenities, including lightweight trailers, fuel-efficient motorhomes and the use of green technologies such as solar panels and energy-efficient components.
- Affordability — RV vacations are more affordable than travel by personal car, commercial airline or cruise ship. Even factoring in RV ownership costs, and considering resulting tax benefits, a family of four can save up to 62% when traveling by RV. There’s also an RV for every taste and budget. Prices for new RVs are typically $6,000-$22,000 for folding camping trailers; $6,000-$55,000 for truck campers; $8,000-$95,000 for conventional travel trailers; $18,000-$160,000 for fifth wheel trailers; $60,000-$150,000 for Type B and C motorhomes; and $60,000-$500,000 for Type A motorhomes. Additionally, for most RV buyers, interest on their loan is deductible as second home mortgage interest.
- Family appeal — RVing is a uniquely enjoyable way to travel as a family. Families that frequently vacation by RV say it creates an increased sense of togetherness and helps improve family communication. RV owners say that strengthening family relationships is an important part of their vacation travel.
- Lifestyle trends — RV owners overwhelmingly said in recent surveys that their RVs make it easier to take more frequent weekend getaways or mini-vacations that accommodate busy family schedules. Nearly 90% of RV owners take three or more mini-vacations (four nights or fewer) trips in their RVs each year. RVers can enjoy the mountains, beaches, parks, popular tourist attractions and small towns whenever they want, without giving up the comforts of home. With sport utility RVs, RV travelers can easily bring their ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles or other outdoor vehicles. In addition to travel, camping and outdoor recreation, RVs are used year-round for a variety of other purposes, like music festivals, events and tailgating at sporting events.
- Lure of the outdoors — With more than 18,000 public and privately owned campgrounds nationwide, RVers are free to roam America’s roads for a weekend — or months at a time. Privately owned RV parks and campgrounds are found near popular destinations, along major tourist routes and even in metropolitan areas. Facilities at public campgrounds tend to be simple, but offer great scenic beauty. Public lands are popular for hiking, fishing, white water rafting and many other outdoor recreational opportunities enjoyed by RVers. The RV Industry Association is currently working with government agencies to modernize publicly-owned campgrounds to accommodate today’s RVs.
RV shipments and sales data
- RV Wholesale Shipments — RV shipments finished 2018 with the second highest shipment total on record. Shipments totaled 483,672 units, a slight decrease of -4.1% from 2017's record-setting year. RV shipments totaled 406,070 units in 2019, the fourth highest total on comparable record.
- Economic Impact — The RV industry has a $114 billion economic impact according to the results of the 2019 RVs Move America Economic Impact Study, research commissioned by the RV Industry Association. The industry provides 596,355 jobs and $32.2 billion in wages.
How can I learn more about RVs?
- Online — Check out RVIA.org and GoRVing.com for information on RV travel trends, vehicles types, events and lists of RV dealers and campgrounds across the country.
- Visit an RV dealer — Check GoRVing.com to find a local dealer.
- Attend an RV show — A variety of RVs of all shapes, sizes and costs are displayed at hundreds of RV shows around the nation. Show dates and locations are searchable at GoRVing.com.
- Rent an RV — There’s an abundance of RV rental and sharing options nationwide. Renting and sharing allows potential buyers to try RV travel and determine which vehicle types best suits their needs. Check GoRVing.com for the nearest rental outlet.