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Aging Boomers Driving Luxury Coach Sales

The following article appears in the Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money, examining an aging baby boomer demographic that is gravitating toward high-end, fully-loaded motorhomes.

The generation that grew up with “On the Road” is hitting the highway once again. Only this time, they’re leaving the bedroll and taking their granite countertops, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money

The second home is out. The winter home is for the birds. Baby boomers and retirees are instead turning to luxury RVs – the behemoth land cruisers that promise the allure of travel without the indignity of airport security, plus all the comforts of home. Retail sales of Class A gas motor homes, generally considered one of the choicest types on the market, grew 7% in 2010, according to research firm Robert W. Baird & Co. – while sales for motor homes overall grew just under 3%. These homes-on-wheels have always been popular with the 50-and-older set – the median age of a motor home owner is 54, according to Kevin Broom, a spokesperson for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association — and as this age group grows it’s enthusiasm for the motor home is driving the current surge in RV sales, experts say. The simple reason: “High-end RVs are expensive, and it’s often this age group that can afford them,” says Rob Tischler, CEO of AllStar Coaches, a luxury RV rental dealer.

Following in the footsteps of the McMansion, RVs are now getting increasingly fancy. Buyers have gotten used to stainless steel appliances, flat-screen TVs and hardwood floors in their primary residence; now they want them in their mobile homes, too. “Luxury is more in demand,” says Broom. And as the economy picks up, consumers are getting more comfortable spending on high-end goods, notes Brad Schaefer, an analyst at Sageworks, a trend that extends from companies like Tiffanys and Porsche, both of which saw double-digit sales gains last year, to the luxury RV market. Click here to read the entire article and view a slide show of five high-end motorhomes.

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