Recreational vehicle industry analyst and economist Richard Curtin presented new demographic data showing that the number of RV-owning households has grown to a new peak of 8.9 million households, up from 7.9 million in 2005.
Speaking during the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) annual Committee Week in Washington, D.C., Curtin told RVIA members that new research reveals 8.5% of U.S. households now own RVs, up from 8.0% in 2005, 7.6% in 2001, 7.3% in 1997, and 6.8% in 1993.
“Today’s record RV ownership levels reflect the enduring appeal of the RV lifestyle despite economic challenges,” Curtin told RVIA members.
Curtin, who is director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, is a leading economist who also publishes a closely watched monthly consumer confidence report.
RV ownership rates have surged among adults aged 35-54 and 55 and over, according to Curtin. In the 35-54 demographic, RV ownership went from 9.0% in 2005 to 11.2% today. Among those 55 and older, ownership rates grew from 8.6% to 9.4%. Ownership rates among young people 34 and under fell slightly from 5.0% to 4.7%.
“Growth among the 35- to 54-year old age group is impressive,” said Curtin. “I believe the industry’s Go RVing outreach campaign had a lot to do with this growth. This is a strong finding for the industry’s future.”
Travel trailer ownership rates grew fastest, going from 4.1% in 2005 to 4.8% in 2011. Motorhomes experienced growth as well, from 1.9% to 2.1%. Rates among truck campers and folding camping trailers were nearly identical. Truck camper ownership rates are 1.7% today vs. 1.8% in 2005. Folding camping trailers are owned by 0.5% of households today compared to 0.4% in 2005.
Curtin’s remarks were based on a preliminary analysis of RV consumer surveys. A complete report on his findings is anticipated later this year.