Outdoor Crossover Can Bring Opportunity To The RV Market

Jul 8, 2019

Increasingly, RV shoppers and outdoor shoppers are becoming the same consumer.

A few months ago, the RV Industry Association surveyed over 4,000 verified outdoor retail store owners across the country to gauge their understanding of the growing RV market. What we found was certainly interesting.

Nearly 58 percent of those surveyed were aware of what’s happening in the RV market, noting that sales in the United States have grown by over 150 percent over the last 10 years and are forecasted to remain strong. A similar percentage of those surveyed also know this growth has been driven by the sale of small, towable campers — the kind favored by their typical customers, outdoor enthusiasts who started as backpackers and backcountry campers.

However, most of the outdoor retailers surveyed were not as familiar with the RV lifestyle itself, with less than half considering themselves well-informed on details and demographics, even while over half of them have experienced RV trips themselves. The lack of in-depth knowledge extends to product with less than half of outdoor retailers knowing the range of camping accessories sold to RV enthusiasts to outfit their vehicles and experiences. Few felt prepared to promote the RV lifestyle due to barriers to entry like store space and knowledge.

However, with more education, a significant opportunity exists to convert retailers and help grow RVing. 38 percent of outdoor retailers believe that a new wave of RVers is coming and they expect one third of their customers to try RV camping in the next 24 months.

The market is ripe for outdoor retail and RV crossover experience and there’s a real revenue opportunity. While over 80 percent want to learn best practices from industry experts about marketing to RV enthusiasts, currently, only 38 percent have been taking advantage of the RV boom by offering products or teaching about the lifestyle in their stores. Additionally, 80 percent of outdoor retailers would like to carry aftermarket RV products such as awnings and components. They just need to be guided to the best product choices.

While a significant education gap exists, outdoor retailers are looking to learn more and to develop their own strategies on how to merchandize outdoor shops to cater the RVers. Partnerships in this area certainly has the opportunity to continue the growth of the RV market.