Industry Report Reveals RV Demographics Are Changing

The cliched stereotype of retirees and snowbirds in motorhomes is long gone. Recent data from the IDS 2023 RV Industry Trends Report highlights some surprising shifts in RV demographics among buyers.

The report’s findings are largely aimed at RV dealerships to help them be more aware of the changing preferences and buying styles of their buyers. As industry-focused as this data is, it paints an interesting picture of current RV culture in the United States. Here’s what they found.

Buyers are getting younger

Seniors have historically been responsible for most RV purchases. Various factors were behind this, including the time freedom that comes with retirement age, as well as a higher net worth. According to a survey conducted by RVIA however, the vast majority of RV buyers are now millennials. The generational breakdown was as follows:

  • Baby boomers – 22%
  • Generation X – 31%
  • Generation Y – 38%
  • Other generations – 9%

Additionally, the survey revealed that the average age of a new RV buyer was 33, which is quite contrary to what the public perception of a typical RV may be. There can be various reasons for this, the first being affordability. As RV manufacturing has become more streamlined (some may also argue that they are of lower quality), prices have come down significantly. Individuals can now purchase lightweight and smaller travel trailers for as little as $20,000. This makes RVing much more accessible to a younger demographic.

The emergence of remote work, driven by the pandemic, could also be a determining factor. People no longer need to earn an income by staying in one physical location, which makes the open road of RV attractive. This type of work usually involves younger people.

RV demographics are becoming increasingly racially diverse

According to North America Camping Report 2022. Overall, approximately 33% of the entire camper population is Black, Hispanic, Asian, or of another ethnicity.

More surprisingly, the interest in camping for the African-American population has increased considerably. The data suggests that consumer demand has increased by 158%. Additionally, 1 in 3 black campers plan to buy a motorhome in the future.

First time buyers drive the industry

Although influenced by the RV boom during the pandemic, the industry has seen a marked increase in first-time buyers. So much so that they now constitute the bulk of purchases. Interestingly, the IDS report also revealed that only 48% of buyers would be interested in purchasing the same brand again, suggesting that new consumers are not initially satisfied with the RV they purchased.

RV buyers are changing and dealers must adapt

This report clarifies one thing: VR is becoming more and more accessible. The combination of affordability, labor flexibility, and new interest from minority communities suggests that the RV industry is likely to continue to grow. Even against a industry downturn after pandemicdealerships should expect new types of customers that have never been encountered before.

As RV demographics change, the industry and dealers will need to start changing their marketing approaches to accommodate this new wave of consumers.