By Russ and Tiña De Maris
RV manufacturer Thor recently completed its 2020 North American RV Consumer Survey with an aim to see just how the COVID-19 pandemic might impact RVers’ decisions about buying and traveling. Here’s a rundown on responses.
About those surveyed
19,393 folks responded. Of them, 7.1 percent didn’t own an RV; the rest of the respondents did. They broke out into these categories of owners: Class A – 10.5 percent; Class C – 9.6 percent; Class B – 0.7 percent. Among other owners, 23.8 percent owned a fifth wheel, 31.8 percent a travel trailer, 11.9 percent classified themselves as a “lightweight” owner, and 4.5 percent were toy hauler owners.
A huge majority, 94 percent, said they still planned a vacation this year. The biggest travel month planned fell to August, with 67 percent claiming it. Only 34 percent said they had not canceled trip plans because of the pandemic.
What kind of vacation trips were in the cards? Half said they’d be taking a weekend or a week-long vacation. Motorhomers – 34 percent of them – planned multi-week trips. In comparing previous RV use, 79 percent reported they’d use their rig about the same, or perhaps more, this year than last.
What will be the deciding factor when making trip plans? The biggest indicator will be whether campgrounds are open, followed by whether or not the spread of coronavirus has decreased. Next in line, if a state “Shelter in Place” order had been lifted. Wish we would have been provided percentages; all we got was a clueless bar graph.
Are you buying?
Of course, for industry, whether or not potential customers are rarin’ to plunk down their money (or sign that loan application) is a big thing. Of the folks who don’t yet have an RV, 78 percent said they’re thinking about changing that this year. Of those who already have a rig, 18 percent said they’re looking into getting a different one. Here’s how it shakes out in detail.
For those considering buying, the biggest interest lies in lightweight travel trailers at 25 percent. Close behind, regular weight travel trailers show a 22 percent interest. Class A motorhome interest ranks at 15 percent, followed by fifth wheels at 14 percent. Pulling up the rear, Class C motorhomes at 13, toy haulers at 6, and Class B conversion units at 5 percent.
Changing horses in the middle of the ride was intense: Of folks who already own a travel trailer of any kind, 33 percent said they’re interested in swapping out to a fifth wheel. Without regard to present ownership, regional differences made a difference. Folks from the Northwest showed a 16 percent interest in lightweight travel trailers; Midwesterners blasted interest in fivers at 32 percent; while in the Southeast, Class A motorhomes drew a 22 percent interest.
If you’re like a lot of folks here, better have a “Plan B” when you hit the road. There may be a lot of competition for places to park your rig!