Blog post

RV Industry Facts and Figures

Updated: 10/5/20

Road Signs Forecast:

  • Shipments for 2020 are projected to be 424,400 units, surpassing 2019 by 4.5%, despite a nearly two-month RV industry shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • First shipment forecast for 2021 is very strong at over 507,000 units, which would be the best year for the RV industry on measurable record.
  • Intense consumer interest and strong RV sales are buoying the RV industry. This forecast confirms what we have been seeing across the country as people turn to RVs as a way to have the freedom to travel and experience an active outdoor lifestyle while also controlling their environment. And the trend is likely to continue.
  • RV shipments are expected to surpass 400,000 wholesale units by the end of 2020 and see continued growth in 2021 to more than 500,000 units, according to the Fall 2020 RV Road Signs report prepared by ITR Economics for the RV Industry Association.
  • The new projection sees total shipments ranging between 414,200 and 434,500 units with the most likely 2020 year-end total being 424,400 units. That total would represent a 4.5% gain over the 406,070 units shipped in 2019, overcoming a nearly two-month RV industry shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Initial estimates for 2021 have a range of 494,400 to 519,900 units with a most likely outcome of 507,200 units, a 19.5% increase over 2020. This would represent the best annual total on measurable record for the RV industry, eclipsing the 504,600 units shipped in 2017.
  • Towable RV shipments are anticipated to reach 383,900 units in 2020 and 452,500 units in 2021. Motorhome shipments projected to finish at 40,500 units in 2020 and 54,7000 units in 2021.
  • ITR Economics also reports that their system of leading economic indicators is rising, creating positive conditions for RV shipments to approach record levels.

Reasons for Increase in Demand

What we have been seeing over the past several months in terms of sales and interest in RVs is just the first wave. This has been fueled by people who see RVs as a way to experience freedom, control, and fun this summer and fall. They want the freedom to get out and take their vacation and enjoy the outdoors while also being able to control their environment—and have fun with family and friends while they do it.

The second wave is being driven by individuals seeking to use RVs as mobile offices. We have had a fundamental change in the workplace with the amount of telecommuting and remote work and we believe this will play a much larger role even as we exit the pandemic. You can set your RV up as a professional office and take that office with you on the road. You can zoom from a national park or any number of campgrounds across the country.

Additionally, the second wave is made up of families who want their children to learn about this country firsthand. With a large number of school systems teaching remotely this fall and many parents already working remotely, this provides an excellent opportunity for families to hit the road in an RV and discover our country's historical sites in person. Due to the school schedule this was not possible in the past.

  • As of Sept. 2, 73% of the 100 largest U.S. school districts had chosen remote learning only as their back-to-school instructional model, affecting more than 8 million students. That’s a lot of students now able to learn from anywhere.

August Shipment Data and Demographics

  • RV wholesale shipments for August 2020 show the continued surge. The 39,489 RVs shipped in August is an increase of 17.3% over August 2019.
  • Type B motorhomes (van campers) continue to show a significant increase with August shipments up 38.8% August over August and are up 47% for the year.
  • Folding camping trailers have also showed a significant jump in August over last year with a 28% increase. These numbers reflect the younger, first-time buyers who are a big part of the surge in RV sales. This also shows that the industry’s growth pattern isn’t just a one-time bump but rather has become transformational to a younger demographic.
  • The increase in purchases from these new, young RVers is a huge positive for the future of the industry and shows what many people already know, RVs are not just something for retirees.
  • Buyers under the age of 45 is the fastest growing segment of RV buyers. This trend was present before the pandemic but has grown even more in the last three months. According to data from Statistical Surveys, more than 35% of RV buyers were under the age of 45 for April-June of this year, compared to 27% in the three months prior.

An RV for Every Lifestyle and Price Point

  • There is such a variety of products available in the RV space to rent or own, that there truly is an RV for every lifestyle and price point.
  • Motorized and towable options range from under $6,000 for a small pop-up trailer all the way up to million-dollar coaches.
  • The industry website provides a lot of great information on the different types of RV and their prices, but the best resource for those interested in finding the right RV is to head to your local RV dealer.

Ipsos Survey Data

  • Data from Ipsos shows that 46 million Americans plan on taking an RV trip in the next 12 months.
  • The survey showed that in total, 1 in 4 respondents plan to take some kind of RV action in the next 12 months. Specifically, 18 percent plan to take an RV trip. Another 18 percent plan to research more RV information online. Eleven percent plan to purchase an RV; 12 percent will visit an RV dealer; and 13 percent plan to rent an RV.
  • The same Ipsos survey showed that 20% of US respondents are more interested in RVs as a recreational travel option, which was the highest of any travel option tested.
  • RV camping leads in consumer confidence and interest across all age groups, with the highest rate of interest among those 18-34 years old.
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