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RVIA: 2021 The Year of the RV

The number of RV owners has been growing steadily for many years; there was an increase of 62 percent in the number of RV owners in 2021 than 2001. The sudden increase in RV ownership since the beginning of the pandemic has caused a significant shift in how Americans travel, holiday, and live, declared a News & Insights report of the RV Industry Association (RVIA).

This rise has reached the highest levels in 2021 with record-breaking production of RVs as well as an increasing desire among consumers to purchase, both fueled with one of America’s oldest traditions—a desire to experience the great outdoors.

The demand for RVs has increased month-over-month through 2021, surpassing the previous records for wholesale deliveries. The most recent forecast indicates the likely year-end total for RV units built in 2021 will be 602,200 units. This is 40 percent more than the 2020 total, which was 430,412 units. It is also an increase of 19 percent over the record of 504,600 units, set in 2017.

RV owners are reporting more satisfied customers and the desire to purchase a second unit in all areas.

Today, one-in-five leisure travelers are considering purchasing an RV, and four-in-ten leisure travelers would consider an RV trip,” said RV Industry Association President & CEO Craig Kirby. “This bodes very well for the future growth of the industry and is a strong indicator of the lasting popularity of RVing.”

In Kirby’s words, although RVing’s freedom was the primary driver behind the increase in 2020, the primary motive this year is the need to get out and explore the vast outdoors.

“Over the past two years, many Americans have rediscovered the great outdoors and all the health benefits that come with living an active outdoor lifestyle. This seems to have ignited a nationwide quest to discover all the natural beauty and adventure our country has to offer,” said Kirby. “Travelers are finding that an RV enables them to see and experience these while enjoying the comfort and convenience of a ‘home away from home.’ “

The thirst for outdoor recreation has never been more apparent than in RV camping sites in and close to the nation’s parks. According to a report of the RV Industry Association, 72 million Americans intend to go RVing in an RV they own, rent, or borrow over the next year, an increase from 61 million according to an earlier survey. Many of these travelers will be traveling to campsites with children and family members, a significant driver for RV use.

“Our main motivation is to have a relaxing adventure together as a family,” says father of two and first-time RV owner Lance Jeffery. “We are inspired to visit areas that have fun activities like river rafting or tubing and national parks that are amazing to see.”

The promise of owning an RV has also increased in diversity. Former NFL offensive player Keith Sims, who encourages minorities to consider the RV lifestyle through his website, called the Soulful RV Family said: “I’m seeing far more people of color at RV parks today than when we started RVing seven years ago. My mother-in-law rents out her RV, and half of the renters are minorities.”

While millions of Americans continue to seek the advantages of an outdoor lifestyle, the demographics of a typical RV owner are shifting. Although 85 percent of current RV owners consider themselves white, as per the most recent Go RVing Consumer Demographic Profile, the percentage decreases to 76 percent in the case of first-time RV owners in 2020.

The largest increase in the variety of owners is in those who consider themselves Black. Data of first-time RV owners in 2020 show that 13 percent of them identify as Black, which is an increase from six percent of those who bought their first RV one to five years ago and a mere two percent of those who bought their first RV six or more years ago. Similar to that, Asian and Hispanic or Latino owners have increased to five and six percent respectively for those who bought their first rig in 2020.

The methods by which RVers in 2021 use their vehicles are changing too. For example, Millennial and Gen Z RV owners are more likely than older counterparts to go to music festivals and carry technological devices, such as streaming gadgets, consoles, video games, devices, as well as outdoor sporting equipment in their vehicles. Campgrounds are beginning to cater to the new RVers with access on-site or to near activities such as boating, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, golfing, rock climbing, ATV, go-cart driving, tennis, and much more.

A record-breaking growth rate is anticipated to continue into 2022, with projections for shipment ranging from 599,760 to 627,700 units with an expected total of 613,700 units. This is an increase of two percent over 2021.

The forecasts, as per ITR Economics, imply that ongoing strong demand for RVs as well as the necessity for dealers in the RV industry to replenish inventory, the financial stability of consumers, and the continued interest in outdoor recreation will keep the number of RV shipments up.

About the RV Industry Association

With offices in Reston, Va. and Elkhart, Ind., the RV Industry Association is the leading trade voice of the $114 billion RV industry, representing approximately 470 manufacturers and component and aftermarket suppliers who together produce 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States, and approximately 60 percent of RVs produced worldwide.

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Heather Hughes
Heather Hughes
April 6, 2024 12:51 am

Isn’t it awesome how the RV industry is booming? Manufacturers are really stepping up their game with cool features. Plus, more RV parks are offering unique experiences for us travelers.


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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: RVIA: 2021 The Year of the RV! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/rvia-2021-the-year-of-the-rv/