During the pandemic, the recreational vehicle (RV) industry saw a significant increase in sales, with some dealers reporting increases of 25% or more. People wanted to enjoy the outdoors while still being cautious about COVID-19 exposure and transmission, and RVs provided a safe way to do so. The popularity of RVs also seems to be driven by a growing interest in nature and outdoor activities such as camping and watersports. People are seeking the chance to escape the stresses of everyday life and enjoy the beauty of the natural world.
According to a report from Reuters, RV manufacturer Winnebago saw particularly impressive results, with fiscal revenue up 50% from the previous year and record quarters that included over $1 billion in Q4 2021. The company's share value also increased by 33%. These results suggest that the RV industry may continue to thrive in the coming years.
“We’ve been the beneficiaries of priorities in people’s lives changing,” said Winnebago Ind. CEO Mike Happe, per WNDU.com.
Despite facing challenges such as labor and material shortages, manufacturers in the recreational vehicle (RV) industry are working hard to meet the high demand from consumers. According to experts, over 600,000 units are expected to be sold in North America in 2021, representing a significant increase of 40% from the previous year and a 17% increase from 2017, the previous record-holding year for RV sales.
According to recent reports, there is expected to be a significant increase in interest in camping in 2022, with as many as 72 million people planning to go camping this upcoming season. This is good news for manufacturers and dealers in the RV industry, as they will likely see a boost in demand due to the limited availability of other social activities due to the pandemic. People are seeking outdoor options to enjoy the outdoors and find some sense of normalcy amid the ongoing health crisis.
According to Business Insider, the number of Millennials interested in camping has risen significantly in recent years, with 73 percent expressing interest in the activity compared to just 14% in 2019. This trend is reflected in the number of first-time RV buyers, which hit an all-time high in 2021. The pandemic has likely played a role in this increase, as restrictions on air travel and cruises have made camping and other outdoor activities more appealing as vacation options.
In addition to Millennials, Gen Z is the only other demographic that has shown increased interest in camping.
According to Jen Young, cofounder and CMO of the RV rental platform Outdoorsy, "Van life is the ultimate uniter, and it sees no age." She explains that traveling in an RV allows people to escape crowds and enjoy the benefits of camping in a location with plenty of fresh air and open space. This type of vacation can be especially appealing after spending months in confinement due to the pandemic.
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.
With the end of the pandemic in sight, many people are wondering when things will return to normal. While we wait for solutions to be developed and the pandemic to be brought under control, it doesn't mean we can't still enjoy life and make new memories. One way to do this is by going camping and exploring the great outdoors with your family in an RV. Now is a great time to pack up and hit the road, choosing a destination and just driving to it. Enjoy the fresh air and open space that come with camping, and make the most of the time we have left in confinement.