Ownership of recreational vehicles (RVs) has reached record levels with
aging baby boomers driving the gains, reveals a forthcoming study by the
University of Michigan.
Nearly 1 in 12 U.S. vehicle-owning households now owns an RV. That
calculates to nearly 7 million households — an increase of 7.8 percent
over the past four years, according to the study’s preliminary
A leading force behind RV ownership’s upswing is the baby-boomer
market of consumers who are 35 to 54 years old, the study confirms. Over
the past four years, the number of RVs owned by 35- to 54-year-olds
grew faster than all other age groups, thus “underscoring the success
of industry marketing efforts aimed at the baby boomer,” said University
of Michigan Survey Research Center Director Richard Curtin.
This latest RV consumer demographics study — to be released this
spring — was commissioned by the Recreation Vehicle Industry
Association (RVIA), Reston, Virginia. Telephone interviews were
conducted January through June 2001, with 3,000 consumers randomly
selected to be representative of all U.S. households.
The median age of all RV owners is now 49 years, up only slightly
from the previous study, which recorded a median age of 48.
The appeal of RV travel is further demonstrated by intentions of
current and former owners to purchase RVs again in the future. In fact, 6
in 10 current owners intend to purchase another RV, with 40 percent
saying it would likely be a new vehicle, the study shows.
While there are slightly more former owners than current owners,
nearly one out of three former owners expects to purchase another RV in
the future. “Overall, there is a strong and enduring appeal to the RV
lifestyle that is as valid today as it was 20 years ago,” Curtin
declared. “The latest survey data only adds support to an optimistic
forecast of RV sales and future ownership growth.”