The RV Industry Association is the information and analysis leader for the RV industry. To interview or connect with industry leaders and experts, please contact Kevin Broom, Director of Media Relations at [email protected] or 571-665-5844.
What is an RV?
- 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).
- There’s 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.
Who is the RV traveler?
- U.S. ownership of RVs has reached record levels, according to a 2011 University of Michigan study commissioned by the RV Industry Association. Approximately 10 million households now own an RV.
- The typical RV owner, according to the 2011 report, 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.
- The upswing in RV ownership is driven by strong interest from both younger and older buyers. RV ownership rates now extend across a 40-year span from age 35-to-75, the Michigan study found.
- More RVs are now owned by those ages 35-to-54 than any other group, according to the University of Michigan study.
- 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. The 35-to-54 age group posted the largest gains in the 2011 Michigan survey.
Why are more people choosing to use RVs for vacation travel?
- Flexibility and convenience — RVs offer a convenient, hassle-free way to see America. RV travelers enjoy the freedom and flexibility to go where they want, when they want — without the worry and stress of inflexible schedules, advance reservations, airport waits and luggage restrictions.
- Comfort — 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.
- 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.
- Affordability — RV vacations are more affordable than travel by personal car, commercial airline or cruise ship, according to vacation cost-comparison studies by PKF Consulting. Even factoring in RV ownership costs, and considering resulting tax benefits, a family of four can save up to 62% when traveling by RV.
- Lure of the outdoors — 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.
- Versatility — In addition to travel, camping and outdoor recreation, RVs are used year-round for a variety of other purposes, like shopping, tailgating at sporting events, pursuing special interests like horse, dog and antique shows and other hobbies.
Where do RVers travel?
- 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. These campgrounds appeal to travelers by offering a variety of activities to keep the whole family happy, including swimming pools, game rooms, playgrounds and snack bars.
- RV travelers seeking a resort atmosphere are attracted to the growing number of luxury RV resorts with facilities such as tennis courts, golf courses, gourmet restaurants and health spas.
- 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 working with government agencies to modernize publicly-owned campgrounds to accommodate today’s RVs.
Factors Behind RV Ownership Trends
- IRS tax deduction. For most RV buyers, interest on their loan is deductible as second home mortgage interest.
- RV manufacturers are offering innovative new products that offer an optimal mix of size, amenities and price for today’s travelers. Manufacturers are producing lightweight trailers and smaller, fuel-efficient motorhomes. Green technologies such as solar panels and energy-efficient components are appearing on an increasing number of RV models.
- Lifestyle trends continue to spur demand for RVs. 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.
- Go RVing ads build demand. The industry’s Go RVing advertising campaign continues to stoke consumer interest in RVs and the RVing lifestyle. The “AWAY” television and print ads are appearing on TV and in print, and Go RVing is partnering with music festivals and sports leagues to expand the campaign’s reach.
RV Shipments and Sales Data
- 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 are predicted to reach 416,300 units in 2019, the fourth highest total on comparable record.
- 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.
Reasons for Industry Strength
- RVs support a balanced and active lifestyle. In surveys, RV owners reported that RV travel enables them to experience nature and outdoor activities and enjoy quality family time. RVers reported stronger bonds with loved ones and benefits to children. RVers also cited healthier eating on the road, sleeping in their own beds, and having their own bathroom facilities as advantages of RV travel.
- RV ownership and travel is a great value. A 2018 Vacation Cost Comparison prepared by CBRE Hotels Advisory Group showed that a family of four can save 21-64% on vacation costs by traveling in an RV, even when factoring in ownership costs and fuel. For a two-person traveling party, savings are 8-53%.
- RVs have uses as diverse as the people who own them. In addition to vacation travel, owners use RVs for tailgating, travel with pets, business, outdoor sports and other leisure activities.
- Shorter trips closer to home. Research shows that RVers spend more time enjoying campgrounds and less on the road to save fuel and time. More than 90% of RVers take three or more mini-vacations per year. With more than 16,000 campgrounds nationwide, it’s easy for RVers to stay closer to home.
What does the future hold for the RV market?
- Changes in the frequency and duration of vacations favor the RV industry. Americans are traveling shorter distances and on weekends with less planning, according to recent studies. For RV owners, this is a convenient travel pattern.
- Both families with children and empty-nesters are strong potential RV buyers, and promising prospects are emerging among younger, ethnically diverse consumers, reveals a Harris Interactive study commissioned by the Go RVing Coalition. Interest in joining the RV lifestyle is strong across the ages from 30 years old and up.
- RV manufacturers are innovating to give consumers an array of product choices. Manufacturers are producing lightweight towables and smaller, fuel-efficient motorhomes. Green technologies such as solar panels are appearing on an increasing number of RVs.
How can I learn more about RVs?
- Surf the web — Check out the rest of this site, RVIA.org and GoRVing.com for information on RV travel trends, vehicles types, show listings and lists of RV dealers and campgrounds in your area.
- Visit an RV dealer — Check GoRVing.com to find local dealerships.
- Attend an RV show — A variety of RVs of all shapes, sizes and costs are displayed at dozens 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.