Latest RV Industry Statistics, Trends & Data (2021)

Statistics, Trends & Data

RVs are trending

Below is all the information you need to know about the RV Industry in regards to RV Sales, RV Economic Impact, RV Consumer Demographics, RV Manufacturing, RV Use, Full-Time RVing, RV Living Costs, RV Trends and much more.  

The RV industry is growing at a phenomenal rate and seems to be gaining in popularity with the younger generator, rather than the usual retirement aged RVers.  More than 11% of households in the United States own an RV.  Millennials alone, own over 15 million RV’s

The recreational vehicle industry brings more $114 billion to the US economy, contributes $6 billion in taxes and employs over 600,000 people, therefore, it’s a very important part of the US economy.

Top RV Statistics

All the RV statistics that are at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

According to a new survey from the RV Industry Association, 61 million Americans plan to go RVing in the next 12 months. This is up from 46 million when this question was asked in May of 2020. 

Top RV Statistics

  • When asked about the likelihood of purchasing an RV in the next 12 months, 25% of respondents, say they are likely or very likely to purchase an RV in the next 12 months. Breaking down the demographics, Millennials showed the highest intent to buy at 31%, followed closely by Gen X at 26% and Gen Z at 21%. (RVIA)
  • #vanlife has been used more than 6 million times on Instagram and is a trending topic among Millennials. (USAToday)
  • RV ownership has grown from 7.9 million households in 2005 to over 9 million today.
  • Over 11% of households in the US own a recreational vehicle. (RVIA)
  • More than half of RV owners take their pets with them in their RVs, 44.3 percent traveled with their dogs, and 13.6 percent with their cats. (Motorhome)
  • Over 46,000,000 Americans plan to go RVing in 2021 (RVIA)
  • A family of 4 can save between 21-64% in travel costs via over traditional vacations. (GORVing/RVIA)
  • The Recreational Vehicle industry contributed over $114 billion to the US economy in 2018. (RVIA)
  • 10% of 35-year old’s use a recreational vehicle once a year.
  • The RV industry has tripled in size since 2009. (RVIA)
  • RVs can cost anywhere between $6,000 – $500,000 and some are more than $1 million. (TAT)
  • RVers spend between 3 – 4 weeks in their recreational vehicle a year. (RVIA)
  • Although there is a rise of solo female RVers, the average RV owner is male and 38-55. (RVIA)
  • Millennials have pushed this industry to record highs in recent years. 38% of the 40 million people who own a recreational vehicle are Millennials. (Curbed)
  • In a 2017 Study, camping accommodations were; 24% RV, 16% Cabin, 1 % Bivy, and 59% Tent (CBRE)
  • There are over 16,000 campgrounds and parking facilities that support public and private RV camping. (RVIA)
  • The RV industry supports nearly 600,000 jobs, contributing more than $32 billion in wages and paying over $12 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. (RVIA)

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Total RV Shipments Monthly vs. Last Year

Graphical Analysis of RV Shipments by Month 2019 to 2020.

Graphical Analysis of RV Shipments by Month 2019 to 2020

Although there was a slump in April 2020 (due to COVID-19),the second half of 2020 saw a significant rise in the manufacture and delivery of RV’s nationwide.  There were 40,382 RV shipments in December 2020 which is a 46.8% increase from December 2019. 

Total RV Shipments Monthly vs. Last Year Infographic (data compiled from RVIA)

Total Shipments Monthly vs Last Year The Adventure Travelers

Total RV Shipments Monthly vs. Last Year Statistics

  • Driven by soaring consumer interest in RVing, the key industry barometer of RV shipments reached 430,412 wholesale units in 2020 and is projected to surpass 502,000 units in 2021. (RVIA)

  • The new projection sees total shipments ranging between 490,300 and 515,400 units with the most likely year-end total reaching 502,582 units by the end of next 2021, a 18.7% increase over 2020. (RVIA)

  • According to ITR, towable RV shipments are anticipated to reach 453,200 units in 2021, with motorhome shipments projected to finish the new year at 49,200 units. (RVIA)

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Wholesale Recreation Vehicle Shipments

Graphical Analysis of Conventional, Van Campers and Mini RV Shipments.

Graphical Analysis of Conventional, Van Campers and Mini RV Shipments

Mini (Type C or Class C) RV’s are still the largest overall built RV’s, however, Van Campers (Type B or Class B) are gaining in popularity and shipments overall.  Conventional (Type A or Class A) RV’s shipments have dropped significantly. Motorhome shipments are projected to range between 48,100 and 50,200 units with a most likely total of 49,200 units in 2021 and 38,100 and 39,900 units with a most likely outcome of 39,000 units in 2020.

Wholesale Recreation Vehicle Shipments Infographic (data compiled from RVIA)

Wholesale Recreation Vehicle Shipments Statistics

  • In 2018 ownership of RVs dropped from a record high of 504,600 in 2017 to 483,700 in 2018. (RVIA)
  • RV shipments increased from 504.6 thousand in 2017 to 483.7 thousand in 2018. (Statista)
  • Recreational vehicles can cost anywhere between $100,000 – $150,000 for Class C and B models and over $500,000 for Class A models. (TAT)
  • A survey of manufacturers showed wholesale shipments in September 2019 were up by 2.2% compared with September 2018. (RVIA)
  • 98% of RVs sold are manufactured in the US. (RVIA)
  • Class C motorhomes are mid-sized RVs that are built upon existing truck bodies and van chassis. These RVs provide better fuel efficiency than the type A or B motorhomes and their size varies from 20 ft to 33 ft. (TAT)
  • Since Class B (Van) motorhomes are on the rise, this means that the depreciation rate for class-B motorhomes will most likely slow down over the next few years. (TAT)

Winnebago sold the most Class A Motorhomes in 2018 representing 14% of the Class A market. Even though Class A motorhomes are the largest and most expensive of motorhomes, sales have declined for three years in a row, however, the iconic Winnebago brand has retained its lead. (Condorferries)

Class A motorhomes are the most expensive and can even over $1 million; hence the lower sales of this luxury item for the past few years. (TAT)

The term, “luxury RV rental” is a leading search term as of January 2021.(TAT)

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Wholesale Recreation Vehicle Shipments

Graphical Analysis of Travel Trailers/Fifth Wheel, Folding Camping Trailers and Truck Camper Shipments.

Graphical Analysis of Travel Trailers/Fifth Wheel, Folding Camping Trailers and Truck Camper Shipments

Travel Trailer and Fifth Wheel RVs is a growing market while Truck Campers are in a manufacturing decline and Folding Camping Trailer shipments have dropped significantly.  

Wholesale Recreation Vehicle Shipments Infographic (data compiled from RVIA)

Wholesale Recreation Vehicle Shipments Infographic Statistics

  • Towable RV shipments are expected to range between 442,200 and 465,200 units with a most likely outcome of 453,200 units in 2021 and 376,100 and 393,200 units with a most likely total of 384,600 in 2020. (RVIA)
  • 1 out of 5 recreational vehicles is classified as a ‘conventional travel trailer’ in the US. (RVIA)
  • Over 289,940 travel trailers were sold in 2018 in the US. (RVHive)
  • Jayco Jay Flight was the best-selling travel trailer in 2018 representing 6.9% of all travel trailers sold. (RVHive)
  • 14% of households own Type A or fifth-wheel motorhomes. (RVIA)
  • The best-seller in 2018 was the Keystone Montana representing 8% of fifth-wheel sales. (RVHive)
  • Park Model RVs make up 12% of the RV market. (Condorferries)
  • 94,000 fifth-wheel motorhomes are shipped each year, taking over as the primary RV a family owns. (Statista)

Travel trailers are popular due to their versatility, affordability and variety of models available on the market.  

Americans bought almost half a million recreational vehicles in 2018. Of this, the most popular model purchased was the conventional travel trailer, selling around 289,940 that year. (RVHive)

94,000 fifth-wheels on average are sold a year. The prices are a lot higher than travel trailers but lower than motorhomes. They offer a great use of space and can be unhitched and left in the campgrounds, unlike motorhomes. (RVIA)

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RV Sales by State Detailed Chart

Latest (2017) Data with Sales and Percentage Values broken down by State.

Latest (2017) Data with Sales and Percentage Values broken down by State

Making my own data chart with information provided by RVIA, you can see that California is in the lead for RV sales,  with Texas in a close second, Florida and New York coming in at third and fourth, respectively.

RV Sales by State Detailed Chart Infographic (data compiled from RVIA)

RV Sales by State Chart with Details

RV Sales by State Detailed Chart Statistics

  • The best time to buy an RV is during October and November, sales nosedive, leading to some pretty good discounts. December and January are even slower, making them the best months for RV shopping. Things are still fairly slow in February too, but tend to pick back up sometime in March.  (RVshare)
  • Montana is the cheapest state to buy an RV.  Montana has absolutely zero sales taxes. No general sales tax, no county tax, no city tax. This is what makes it the cheapest state to buy an RV. If you already have residency in Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, or Oregon you’re in luck because those states also have no general sales tax. (Getawaycouple)
  • The highest number of RV sales by state is Indiana ($6.8 billion), California ($2.2 billion) and Texas ($1.8 billion). This is no surprise as Indiana is home to the majority of RV Headquarters including Thor Industries, Forest River and Avion International Llc. Elkhart, Indiana has been dubbed ‘RV Capital of the World.’ 
  • Economists suggest that the RV industry is better at predicting recessions than they are. (RVIA)
  • In 2017, RV dealers generated an average of $9.7 million in sales, $571,822 in average sales per employee. (Census)

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RV Consumer Demographic Profile

Who purchases RVs and Why?

Who purchases RVs and Why?

Utilizing the data below, you will see who is purchasing RVs and what they do with them once they have them.

RV Consumer Demographic Profile Infographic

RV Consumer Demographic Profile Infographic The Adventure Travelers

RV Consumer Demographic Profile Statistics

  • Americans have the largest ownership market, around 40 million people and 9 million families in the US own one. Of those, 38% are Millennials. (Condorferries)
  • Generation X and Baby Boomers make up the majority of RV owners. (RVIA)
  • Share of ownership for Generation Xers increased from 18.42% (2015) to 20.75% (2018). (Condorferries)
  • Share of RV ownership for Millennial between 25-34 increased from 5.03% to 8.1%. (RVIA)
  • RV owners aged just 18-24 increased from 15% to 37%. (Condorferries)
  • Florida is home to the 4th, 5th and 6th concentrations of van, boat and RV residents in the nation.
  • Those aged between 35-54 are the most likely to own a recreational vehicle in the US. (University of Michigan)
  • The average RV owner in the US is 48 years old, married and tends to travel 3 times a year. (RVIA)
  • The average owner has an income of $68,000 annually and spends on average 4 weeks a year using their camper, trailer or motorhome. (Condorferries)
  • Updated in 2019, 68% of RVers bring a pet along. 92% are dog people and 14% bring cats. (RVIA)
  • 90% say RVing is the best way of holidaying with their children.
  • Roughly 40 million people in the United States go RV camping. (This includes backyard and car-based camping.) (Statista)
  • Of those 40 million, Millennials make up approximately 38% of campers, even though they make up just 31% of the general population, according to 2017 figures. (Statista)
  • Although Millennials are discovering the RV industry, Generation X and Baby Boomers are still the biggest segments of the industry. (RVIA)
  • There are about 16,000 campgrounds and parking facilities throughout the country, both public and private, which support RV camping. (RVIA)
  • Roughly 25% of campers in the U.S. are under the age of 18.  (Statista)
  • There has been a 16% increase in household ownership of recreational vehicles in the United States since 2001. Additionally, 60% more households own an RV now compared to 1980. (RVIA)
  • When not using their RV, many RVers rent their RVs through peer to peer rental companies like Outdoorsy, RVshare and RVezy to offset the cost of their RVs recurring costs like, tires, oil changes, registration, insurance and other factors.  A typical RV owner can make $10,00o to $30,000 or more renting out their RV each year. (TAT)

The RV buyer demographics was initially driven by Baby Boomers, however it’s Millennials that have spurred the recent growth. Millennials are craving new experiences, and this has helped to fuel their desire to exploring new destinations.   

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RV Destination and Use Statistics

The most popular RV destinations and how RVs are being used.

The most popular RV destinations and how RVs are being used.

RV Destination and Use Statistics

  • RVers drive on average 4,500 miles a year in their RV. (University of Michigan)
  • 90% of those miles driven are with a travel trailer and take 3 RV trips a year on top of their regular vacation. (Condorferries)
  • 20% of owners take advantage of less traditional camping spots and opt for boondocking or dry camping and some even stay in Walmart parking lots.
  • 1 in 5 RV travelers prefers to go on a hiking or trekking vacation involving camping. (Condorferries)
  • Three National Parks had more than 10 million recreation visits: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NPS)
  • RV owners take advantage of taking multiple trips a year and tend to drive on average 4,500 miles in their camper. (Condorferries)
  • Motorhomes are not only used for vacation activities but are also widely used across various activities like the festival, concerts, and multi-day events. (TAT)

10 most visited Parks in 2019: (NPS)

  1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area – 15 million
  2. Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina – 14.9 million
  3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – 12.5 million
  4. Gateway National Recreation Area – 9.4 million
  5. Lincoln Memorial – 7.8 million
  6. George Washington Memorial Parkway – 7.5 million
  7. Lake Mead National Recreation Area – 7.5 million
  8. Natchez Trace Parkway – 6.3 million
  9. Grand Canyon National Park – 5.97 million
  10. Gulf Islands National Seashore – 5.6 million

10 most visited National Parks in 2019: (NPS)

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – 12.5 million
  2. Grand Canyon National Park – 5.97 million
  3. Rocky Mountain National Park – 4.7 million
  4. Zion National Park – 4.5 million
  5. Yosemite National Park – 4.5 million
  6. Yellowstone National Park – 4 million
  7. Acadia National Park – 3.4 million
  8. Grand Teton National Park – 3.4 million
  9. Olympic National Park – 3.2 million
  10. Glacier National Park – 3 million

Yellowstone National Park reported its most ever September 2020 visitors – The park recorded about 837,000 visits in September, a rate 21% higher than September 2019 and 15.6% higher than the park’s second-busiest September on record in 2018, when it hosted 724,000 people. (USAtoday)

RVers love to explore the great outdoors, with Yosemite National Park being the most popular RV destination in the US. RVers like to take advantage of all outdoor recreation amenities these beautiful destinations offer.  Along with camping surrounded by waterfalls, streams, mountains and prairies, these destinations offer great places for hiking, biking, mule rides, fishing and much more.

RV Travel Cost Savings

A study by CBRE comparing various RV models with traditional vacations saw that RV vacations can be over 60% cheaper than a traditional holiday and trailers can cost as little as $6,000. The study compared variations between hotels/motels/condos, eating out/eating in, traveling by air and renting a car versus staying in various models. Here are the cost savings if people took an RV vacation:   For 2 people, they could save the following for each RV model:
  • Folding camping trailer: save 43-53%
  • Lightweight travel trailer: save 20-34%
  • Compact motorhome: save 20-34%
  • Type C motorhome: save 8-24% Type A motorhome: save 19%
  • For a family of 4, they could save:
  • Folding camping trailer: save 50-64%
  • Lightweight travel trailer: save 31-50%
  • Compact motorhome: save 31-50% Type C motorhome: save 21-43%
  • Type A motorhome: save 41%
Fuel costs rise according to the type of RV, however, this wasn’t said to be significant enough to impact the outcome of the study and cost savings. 

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Full-Time RVer Statistics

How many RVers live in their RV full-time and how much does it cost?

How many RVers live in their RV Full-Time and how much does it cost?

All the other charts and graphs are my own property, however Escapees RV Club had and amazing infographic of their members, who are generally Full-Time RVers.  

Full-Time RVer Statistics Inforgraphic (provided by Escapees RV Club)

Full-Time RVer Statistics

  • 46 million Americans plan to take an RV trip in the next 12 months. (RVIA)
  • 29 percent of respondents indicated they had worked from an RV in 2020 and 42 percent said they intended to do so in 2021. (RVIA)
  • Approximately 1 million Americans live in recreational vehicles full-time. (RVIA)
  • Florida is one of the most popular places for full-time RVers to reside as it has no state income tax. (RVLife)
  • Total monthly living costs are between $1,400 – $3,000 a month. (TAT)
  • Nearly a half-million RV owners say they use their recreational vehicle as their primary residence. (RVIA)
  • Vans are a popular RV type since city governments nationwide are trying to dissuade RVers from living on the streets and vans are considered more “stealthy”. (TAT)

The ability to work and learn from the road has also been a driving force behind the growth in RVing. The same survey showed 29% of respondents had worked from an RV over the past 8 months. This trend is going to increase with 42% of respondents indicating they are considering working from an RV in the next year. (RVIA)

On the remote learning front, the survey showed 21% of respondents had schooled their children remotely in an RV over the past 8 months and 29% of respondents are considering doing so in the next year. (RVIA)

Many full-timers have chosen to live in RVs due to the cost savings compared with typical homes. Lower rental costs, lower bills and the freedom RVs offer, are all reasons why over a million Americans opt for this lifestyle. While the initial down payment for an RV can be expensive, it won’t be more than a house deposit and rent can cost anywhere between $13-$15 a night on average.   With the growing need for escape, travel and freedom, we see RV vacations and full-time living continuing to gain popularity. (TAT)

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The RV Industry Economic Impact Statistics

RVs are Made in America and helps U.S. economic growth substantially.

RVs are Made in America and helps U.S. economic growth substantially.

The chart below shows the growth of the RV industry since the recession in  2008/2009.  In the U.S. alone, the RV industry creates $50 billion USD in economic impact annually. More than 23,000 businesses are currently involved in the industry, creating nearly 45,000 direct employment opportunities and $3 billion in direct wages.

The RV Industry Economic Impact Statistics Infographic

RV Wholesale Shipments

The RV Industry Economic Impact Statistics

  • 98% of all RVs sold in the USA are made in the USA. (RVIA)
  • The motorhome market is anticipated to record a CAGR of over 6.5% during the forecast period, 2020 – 2025. (MordorIntelligence)
  • In 2017, the RV industry celebrated its eighth straight year of sales growth. During this 8-year span, the recreational vehicle industry has grown more than 200%. (RVIA)
  • However, 2019 ended this streak with a slight decline. Growth returned in 2020 with new record high sales numbers. (RVIA)
  • The RV industry contributed $114 billion to the US economy in 2018. Of this $68 Billion goes to Manufacturers and Suppliers, $20 Billion RV Sales and Service, $26 Billion RV Campgrounds and Travel. (RVIA)
  • In the US the RV industry makes $18 billion in sales a year from over 500,000 wholesale shipments. In Canada, the RV industry generates over $7 billion in sales a year. (RVIA)
  • The RV industry supports 596,355 total jobs, 30,363 RV businesses, $32 Billion in wages, $12.2 Billion taxes paid by the industry. (RVIA)
  • Americans bought nearly half a million recreational vehicles in 2018, with the industry bringing in more than $20 billion in revenue. (Census)
  • Exports of RVs total around $1 billion a year.
  • Over 200,000 loans totaling $8.4 billion were generated in 2017 at locations offering RVs with the average loan amount being over $45,000. (RVIA)
  • RVs are more affordable today with some under $10,000, but the average price of a motorhome is much higher. Class C and Class B motorhomes retail anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000, while a Class A motorhome can retail for more than $500,000. (TAT)
  • For most RV buyers, interest on their loan could be deductible as second home mortgage interest. (IRS)
  • Manufacturers are producing lightweight trailers and smaller, fuel-efficient motorhomes. Green technologies such as solar panels and energy-efficient components are appearing on an increasing number of RV models. (TAT)
  • More than nine million households now own an RV – the highest level ever recorded – a 16% increase since 2001 and a 64% gain since 1980. (RVIA)
  • In 2019, outdoor recreation was 2.1% of the US GDP. (BEA)

In a Harris Interactive survey, owners reported that RV travel enables them to experience nature and outdoor activities and enjoy quality family time. RVers reported stronger bonds with loved ones and benefits to children. RVers also cited healthier eating on the road, sleeping in their own beds, and having their own bathroom facilities as advantages of RV travel.

Research shows that RVers spend more time enjoying campgrounds and less on the road to save fuel and time. More than 90% of RVers take three or more mini-vacations per year. With more than 16,000 campgrounds nationwide, it’s easy for RVers to stay closer to home. (RVIA)

COVID-19 Related RV Industry Statistics

In January 2021 the previous Stay-at-Home order in California is now allowing previously closed campgrounds and RV parks to reopen to transient visitors. RV dealerships will be allowed to increase capacity to 25%, up from 20% under the previous restriction. (Parks.ca.gov)

20 percent of US respondents are more interested in RVs as a recreational travel option in the aftermath of COVID-19 – the highest of any option tested – over car/tent, cruise, car/rental stay, air/rental stay. 51% percent of those that plan to take any RV trip this year reported that current health concerns increased their interest in RV camping – much higher than any of the other travel options.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has struck a body blow to our nation in so many ways, but the RV industry has managed to provide a glimmer of hope by allowing people to enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle while also controlling their environment,” said RV Industry Association President Craig Kirby. “The shipment numbers for 2020 reflect the surge in demand that began in early summer and continued for the remainder of the year. The forecast for 2021 confirms the expectation that order activity will continue to rise this year.”

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Rent an RV

These are the top 3 peer to peer RV rental companies

01

Experience the magic of the outdoors with the best RV, camper van, and travel trailer rentals imaginable.

02

Wide-ranging inventory.  From affordable pop-ups to luxury motorhomes.

03

Find an RV that fits your travel needs.  #1 in Canada!

Sources:

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