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RV travel predicted to boom again in 2023

If a survey by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association of RVers’ travel plans holds true, you won’t be alone out there on the road this year—quite the opposite. The survey shows that 37% of American leisure travelers, representing 67 million, plan on taking an RV trip in 2023.

Among leisure travelers, who are defined as any U.S. resident who has taken some type of leisure trip in the past year, the top reasons for RV travel are exploring the outdoors and having additional flexibility through remote work or school. While spending time outdoors has consistently remained a top reason for RVing, the number of respondents who cited flexibility in work have increased by 12% in the past year.

Cost of RVing a factor

The survey also showed that finances are a driving reason for people’s plans to take an upcoming RV trip. If the expense of owning their RV is not factored in, the cost of an RV vacation is about half that of comparable hotel and plane ride trips and a third less than hotel and car ride trips. That makes RVing appealing to people who already own an RV looking for the freedom to travel while also controlling their travel expenses.

However, the highest interest in RVing overall comes from the younger age groups. 49% of Generation Z and 48% of Millennials plan to take an RV trip in the next year. Their purchase intent is also higher, with 41% of Generation Z and 35% of Millennials planning to buy an RV in the next year.

Among RVers, which is defined as people who have taken a trip in an RV they rent, own, or borrow in the past 12 months, 50% plan to buy an RV in the next year. This is up 14% from last year.

Commissioned by the RV Industry Association and conducted by Cairn Consulting, 1,212 surveys were completed by a statistically balanced cross section of U.S. leisure travelers. The survey results have an associated margin of error of +/- 2.74 percentage points. Again, leisure travelers are defined as any U.S. residents who has taken some type of leisure trip in the past 12 months.

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Tom E
18 days ago

The next few months will tell us if the 14% increase is real or not. Right now the RV industry has tanked and RV dealer’s lots are overflowing. Inflated RV prices combined with high interest rates will play into this projected increase. We’ll see.

Cancelproof
18 days ago
Reply to  Tom E

I have to think that the RV builders have somewhat shot themselves in the foot by building low quality units the past few years of boom time buyers. Best guess and only a guess, they will need a decade to rebuild reputations for better quality. Terrible testimony that the RV builders view their reputations as disposable in the boom times. RVIA hoping for self fulfilling prophesy at 14%. If it’s 5% it’s a win for the industry.

Bob M
18 days ago

Now a days it’s hard to believe articles just like this. I went to the Dr Thur and they asked me if I have enough food. I told them yes, but I asked what do most of the patients say. Nurse said they don’t have enough food. Free food giveaways are packed. Supermarkets, Home Depot, Lowes and malls are packed. They say people don’t have money, price of every thing is high. Interest rates and RV prices are high. Was at a RV show Friday, it wasn’t packed. So what is the truth?

Spike
18 days ago

The RVIA is interested in only one thing…getting people to buy RVs…so they have to try to bolster a view of the industry. High interest rates, banks being far more picky in who they loan to or what they loan for, good probability of a recession, high cost of RV’s…lots of reasons to think that it won’t be a bumper year for new RV sales.

Steve
19 days ago

I always love surveys. And I guess I’m a skeptic, but I have never seen a truly “unbiased” survey. Also, 1200 respondents against 67,000,000 RV’ers does not seem like an acceptable sample population – and I have training in statistics and understand the correlations (My fav saying – ‘figures don’t lie, but liars figure”). Also, given gas prices, inflation and interest rates (which are expected to increase more), I really question some of these numbers, like how many younger buyers there will be. However, you will find crowding in the popular destinations as people think the RV is a way to avoid the cost of a hotel. Also speaking of cost, why would anyone do a comparison of cost without including the cost of the RV. Come on man! This survey smells like the RVIA wanted a survey to help support marketing. Sorry, like I said, I guess I am just a skeptic! Peace and happy travels!

Dave
18 days ago
Reply to  Steve

It’s about a 3% margin of error assuming proper sampling from the 67M. I think the biggest thing to be aware of, and common across surveys, is who funds and runs the survey. That generates the bias. They can be selective in who they survey and the questions they ask. With RVIA running it they will almost always be bias towards their industry. It’s rare to find unbiased surveys and the most important thing to know is who funded it. Academic surveys can sometimes be fairly representative but it is more common they are funded by someone external or the paper is written assuming you get graded on the number of words used.

With that out of the way…is there really anything ridiculous stated here? Not really. People will be looking to save money and outdoors continues to be an experience people want. If you ever see a forecast from Strategy Titan on RVs…you can believe it will be reliable.

Gordon den Otter
18 days ago
Reply to  Steve

The big difference is between how many “intend” to go, and how many actually do. Have you seen the surveys of how many people “intend” to buy an electric vehicle? “Intend” seems to mean “I thought about it once.”

Dave
18 days ago

Yes – that is also a good observation. Intend has dependence on many things (e.g., I will have a job; I can find availability; the economy is not in a recession; etc.). Just like EV vehicles. In various studies I do believe it to be true that many intend to buy. Especially as you go towards younger groups (nothing sets off this forum more than EV discussions). I’m Gen X. I “intend” to buy an EV. But they first need:
1) to be priced similar
2) have easy charging network and faster intake (or robot battery replacement stops)
3) go 500 miles without charge. Many will argue people don’t drive that far. Agree, I don’t except longer trips. But its those trips I care about…not little commutes. Or let me go the same ~300 miles or so I can now with <10 minute stops anywhere I pull off a road vs. having to find a station.

Cancelproof
18 days ago
Reply to  Steve

What Inflation? Some things are up and some things are down. Gas price up 73%, Fentanyl price down 73%.
We’re even. It’s ECON 101. C’Mon Man.

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