Believe it or not, the RV industry actually thrived during the pandemic. People bought in record numbers, with many dealers reporting increases of 25 percent or better.
People wanted to get out and live their lives as much as possible, while still being cautious of the social climate pertaining to COVID exposure/transmission. RVs allowed families to go out to the middle of nowhere, safely tucked away, and enjoy things such as camping, watersports and some semblance of normalcy.
It seems as if there is a nature-lover boom as well. More and more are taking the time to bask in the natural beauty of the outdoors, forgetting the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoying the little things such as campfires and staring at the stars.
According to a report from Reuters, Winnebago posted huge numbers during 2020, with fiscal revenue up 50 percent from the previous year. Additionally, the RV manufacturer has had record quarters, topping $1 billion during Q4 2021. The report also mentioned a 33 percent increase in share value, something that will certainly interest investors.
“We’ve been the beneficiaries of priorities in people’s lives changing,” said Winnebago Ind. CEO Mike Happe, per WNDU.com.
Despite labor and material shortages, many manufacturers are rapidly working to keep up with consumer demand. In 2021, experts predicted that more than 600,000 units would be sold in North America, a 40 percent jump from 2020 and a 17 percent increase from 2017, the previous record-setting year.
Other reports indicate a stronger interest coming in 2022, with as many as 72 million people saying that they are going camping this upcoming season. Of course, that has to be music to the ears of manufacturers and dealers. While there are social constraints due to the pandemic, many are thinking of outdoor options to compensate for the lack of other social activities.
Business Insider suggests that as much as 73 percent of Millennials are interested in camping, compared to just 14 percent in 2019. Additionally, first-time RV buyers were at an all-time high, creating a clear target market for the booming RV industry. Due to COVID, flights and cruises became secondary options – if they were options in the first place – and opened the door for camping and other outdoor activities.
Other than Millennials, Gen Z’ers are the only other demographic that has indicated increased interest in camping.
"Van life is the ultimate uniter, and it sees no age," Jen Young, cofounder and CMO of the RV rental platform Outdoorsy, told Business Insider. "Traveling via RV provides people with the ability to travel away from crowds and camp in a location where fresh air and open space are your two closest companions — a welcome reprieve after months spent in confinement."
From Business Insider:
This boom in camper van shipments continued into October and November with a 115.1% and 125% increase year-over year, respectively. It's therefore unsurprising that camper van conversion companies — including makers like Outside Van and Off Highway Van — have also been reporting a surge in sales, inquiries, or waitlist times.
The end of the pandemic is on the mind of most people. When will it end? When can we go back to normal? Those are questions that will take time to answer, as solutions are currently being developed to take control of the pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy life; it might be different than before but that doesn’t mean it can’t be better.
Enjoy the outdoors! Go camping. Pack up the family in the RV, pick a spot on the map, and just drive! Right now seems to be the best time to do it, actually.