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Gas Prices & Inflation Are Not Hampering RV Enthusiasm
Despite the surge in gas prices and economic uncertainty in general, the RV industry saw an increase in interest of buying an RV from May to June. Gone are the days of steady-as-it-goes; we now live in a time where things can change on a moment’s notice. We want to take a deep dive and look at how this has affected the RV industry.
Times are changing, RV industry is growing
The pandemic, which continues to impact global affairs, has changed our attitudes, our experiences, and our expectations about everything: travel, employment, education, personal and global finance, social interaction, leisure time activities, and even how we recreate.
There’s a real urgency to abandon the social isolation of the past two years and get back to the lives we enjoyed before, but going back is not as simple as it sounds. The airlines are woefully understaffed in all departments, making traveler’s experiences more of a nightmare than a much needed and much anticipated vacation. Similarly, the cruise industry continues to struggle to keep passengers safe from COVID, even though all passengers must test negative before boarding a cruise liner.
What are the alternatives?
So, if air travel and cruise lines have not returned to normal and are still not a viable recreational choice, where can people go to find the high-quality leisure-time experience they so desperately seek?
Fortunately, RVing has risen to the challenge of filling this gap, and more people over the past two years have discovered the joy, freedom, and relative safety of RVing than any other time in the past. To better understand this opportunity, here’s an in-depth look at the state of the RVing industry today.
RVing is for everyone
The entire RVing experience is part of the adventure, from the time you plan your RV trip and leave the house until you get home. You don’t have to endure the hassles and delays of getting to your destination because the journey is half the fun.
Traveling through unfamiliar terrain during a road trip is just as enjoyable as actually camping in Joshua Tree National Forest, Grand Canyon National Park, or the Adirondack Mountains. In addition to providing a lower stress level for travelers, the cost of RVing per trip is estimated to be 20% – 60% less than a traditional vacation involving flights, hotel reservations, and dining out. In an RV, you take your bedroom, bathroom, refrigerator, and kitchen with you, so all your physical needs are met wherever you decide to stop or camp for the night.
Are gas prices affecting RVers?
The impact of higher gas prices are not disproportionately impacting RVers. Rising gas prices and inflation impacts everyone, and higher fuel costs are factored into airline and cruise line ticket prices. So even though RVers are feeling the pinch at the pumps, all recreational activities have been impacted by these same economic conditions.
So far, inflation and increased gas prices are viewed as temporary and are not deterring enthusiasm for RVing. Finally, everyone can enjoy RVing because there are many RV models at every price point from $10,000 travel trailers to million-dollar luxury motorhomes.
Regardless of the value of your RV, the RVing experience is the same for everyone. It’s common to see R-Pods and Prevost motorhomes in the same campground enjoying the same amazing outdoor experiences side by side. RVing is not about the value of the RV. It’s about the freedom, mobility, discovery, and wonder of enjoying nature.
RV industry statistics
RVing has always been a hugely popular recreational activity, but it has become even more so since the pandemic. There are 11.2 million households with an RV, but this is not the recreational choice of just retirees. The split between RV owners who are over and under 55 years of age is about even, and the fastest growing segment of the population to begin RVing for the first time are people 18 to 34 years old. The average RVer is married, 49 years old, and has an annual household income of $62,000.
As a side note, with the ubiquitous work-from-home mandate that sprang out of the pandemic, people realized they could easily work from an RV if they have an internet connection. This revelation freed many younger people to begin a whole new chapter in their lives.
Trends in the RV industry
It is estimated that 40 million people go camping every year. However only a fraction of these camping trips involves an RV since there are only about 11 million RVs in the country. Therefore, about ¾ of the 40 million camping trips are in tents or other rustic camping environments.
However, about a quarter of these campers (9.6 million) report they intend to enhance their camping experience by buying an RV sometime in the next 5 years, and many people who currently own an RV want to upgrade to a newer or different model.
Advantages of RVing
The advantages of RVing are endless. With an RV, you don’t need to research and book flights, stand in long lines in crowded airports or cruise line terminals, arrange for the transport or boarding of your pets, make hotel and rental car reservations, worry about cancelled flights or missed connections, or be concerned about being refused boarding due to a positive COVID test.
In an RV, you control your own airspace, where you go, and for how long. Social distancing is a natural part of RVing as you enjoy the outdoors. Instead of breathing recirculated air in an airplane, you can linger in the middle of a national forest enjoying air that is naturally filtered by giant Ponderosa pines or acres of Douglas fir trees.
RV Industry – Supply and Demand
Selling an RV
All these factors are continuing to create a strong demand for new and used RVs. The RV industry is still struggling with labor shortages and supply chain constraints, so the production of new RVs has not kept pace with the demand.
The inventory level of RVs continues to be understocked compared to pre-pandemic levels, and sales are still strong with no slowdown in sight. These conditions create a strong reseller’s market, so if you’ve been thinking of upgrading your RV or just selling it outright, now is best time to sell it.
You might be pleasantly surprised by the value of your RV. You can get a free valuation from National Vehicle to start the sales process. They also provide helpful private RV sales tips and services to help you maximize the value of your RV.
Buying an RV
If you are one of the 9.6 million people who want to buy an RV in the next 5 years, here are a few tips to help you find the best deal.
Don’t wait. Get started right away because the process may take longer than you thought. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy because we wait too long to start a big project like finding the right RV. That delay may create a sense of urgency that could have been avoided If you start shopping early, know what you can afford, and have your financing pre-approved so the whole process will be less stressful.
Tips for buying an RV
- Research the peer-to-peer private RV market for a broader selection at a better price.
- Be patient.
- Have your financing in place.
- Be willing to travel for the best deals.
- Act quickly when you find the RV that fits your specific needs.
More and more people are discovering the recreational freedom of RVing, and the RV industry continues to thrive in spite of (or perhaps because of) the pandemic. After having been cooped up for a couple of years, people are eager to engage in fun, safe, and affordable ways to enjoy the great outdoors. This has created a strong national demand for recreational vehicles, and RVers seem unaffected by recent changes in the economic climate.