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Sales increasing for the recreational vehicle industry

June 16, 2014

Shipments for recreational vehicles has been solid after a serious decline in sales during 2008 and 2009, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.

A vital key to the resurgence in RV sales has stemmed from a large contingent of baby boomers now headed for retirement. While the average RV owner is around 48 years old, many people who buy a motor home are recently retired.

RV sales are growing around the country.
Phil Ingrassia, president of the RV Dealers' Association, told U.S. News that older buyers are more likely to spend money on loaded models they plan to use in their free time. He said recent retirees and looser bank standards have helped spark the market back to precession levels.

“This industry was impacted by the economic crisis, as far as the drying up of consumer credit,” Ingrassia said. “As things have improved, the economy has gotten better and there's more credit available for consumer purchases like an RV.”

The RV industry shipped 321,127 units in 2013, a 12.4 percent increase over the previous year. The 2013 total was nearly double the output recorded in 2009 and the fourth straight year of growth for the industry since 2009, according to the Recreational Vehicles Industry Association. And more RV drivers means more auto quotes for insurers.

The age to buy an RV

Bob Martin, president of Thor Industries, one of the leading RV manufacturers in the U.S., admitted that his company has seen a boost in sales catalyzed by aging baby boomers. But he wasn't ready to concede that all of Thor's sales are coming from the country's older demographic.

“We're definitely looking at Generation X and Y as well,” Martin told U.S. News. “We have a lot of families that are starting to camp.”

One such Generation Y buyer is Jenny Miller, a 29-year-old Davenport, Iowa, resident. Miller and her husband purchased a trailer to take their son camping.

“We had been talking about buying one for a couple of years, and we were just kind of waiting for our finances to get in order so we could make the purchase,” Miller told U.S. News?

Miller, like many Americans, waited to purchase an RV until the economy started to strengthen after the Great Recession. She wasn't the only person in her family to do so. Her parents made a recent RV purchase after waiting several years for the economy to improve.

“They've been looking for a new RV for a long time, probably at least two, three years, and they finally found one that they wanted,” she said.