By Rebecca Ungarino of CNBC
When James and Stef Adinaro first looked into purchasing an RV in 2010, they were hesitant. At 42 and 39, they felt they were too young to purchase a recreational vehicle.
Five years and one RV later, the Adinaros are hoping to upgrade, having embraced the road-tripping “RV lifestyle.”
Originally, the couple, who lives in Salt Lake City, purchased a used mid-size 2003 Mercedes van for convenience while traveling to bicycling competitions. But now, the couple are considering buying a new Winnebago model, the Travato, which caters to the more physically fit RV owner—complete with a bicycle and kayak rack.
The Travato, which has a suggested retail price of $85,476, is an example of how the industry is hoping to cash in on a physically fit consumer.
“The big shift is occurring in how people RV. Nowadays, RVers are more active,” said Stef Adinaro, a personal trainer. RV parks have begun catering to this shift by offering more gyms, fitness classes, walking trails and bike rentals, she said.
Helping to fuel that trend is, in some cases, a consumer who is younger than the industry has seen in the past.
According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s most recent ownership report, the fastest-growing cohort of RV owners in 2013 was 35 to 44 years old, which is just slightly less than the industry’s largest cohort of owners, which are between 45 and 54 years old. The average American RV owner was 50 in the 1980s, and today that age is 48 and falling.
“You used to think of RVs and think of the cigar-smoking grandpa and the retired couple,” said Matt Rose, director of recreation vehicles at the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council, “but not anymore.”
And that could be good news for not only RV manufacturers, but also for RV parks.
“They spend more money on experience than on a material good,” said Rose, who coordinates retail shows in Indiana. He has seen that these younger RVs spend more money while traveling and take more frequent trips.
RV sales historically have tended to rise and fall with the economy and consumer confidence. Right now, they are on the upswing.
Shipments have grown steadily, reaching an eight-year high of 356,735 units shipped nationwide in 2014, according to the RVIA. Shipments showed an 11 percent gain year over year, and a 116 percent gain since the industry’s recession low of nearly 165,000 in 2009.
Motor Home Finders is a licensed motor home broker based in Dade City, Florida. Specializing in diesel, luxury motor homes and bus conversions, Motor Home Finders has 50+ years of experience in buying and selling luxury RVs nationwide. Their mission is to eliminate the difficult efforts of private sellers trying to sell their recreational vehicle by orchestrating a seamless RV transaction process. To learn more, call 1-888-783-4009 or visit motorhomefinders.com