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RV Popularity Soars Among Millennials During Pandemic

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RV popularity is booming - Travel Trailer in a woody campground
Photo: Bo Gordy-Stith via CC

A new survey by the RV Industry Association shows that millennials are now more interested in buying an RV than any other age demographic — and while RV popularity has grown across the board, millennials are now beginning to put their money where their mouth is.

Outdoorsy, an RV rental marketplace, says that first-time renters made up 90 percent of its bookings in 2020, and that millennial RV bookings soared 70 percent compared to 2019. Thor Industries, which owns several of the largest RV manufacturers in the United States including Keystone and Jayco, reports that 21.2 percent more millennials purchased one of their travel trailers in 2020 compared to 2019.

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According to the RVIA, it’s the first time that millennials report a desire to buy an RV in the next year at a higher rate than any other demographic, but it’s not just millennials that the industry is attracting. Sales of Thor travel trailers rose among Gen Zers even more than among millennials, and 20 percent of all people surveyed by the RVIA reported higher interest in RVing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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.”

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Last month, RV shipments were up 43.4 percent, a new record for November. And as a result, year-to-date RV shipments are already exceeding 2019 numbers by three percent — an incredible feat considering the massive sales hit the industry experienced during the two-month lockdown earlier in the year.

The same pandemic that caused a huge sales drop thus also seems responsible for booming RV popularity. And as far as RV retailers can see, millennials are the primary demographic to thank.