Millennials are flocking to RVs like never before during the pandemic, new data shows

While the general surge in RV popularity during the coronavirus pandemic isn’t millennial-specific, the demographic’s rising interest in RVing has now started positively impacting sale and rental numbers.
Millennials are now more interested in buying an RV than any other age demographic, according to a survey from the RV Industry Association.
A millennial favorite, the Class B camper van, has seen an exceptional increase in sales and shipments.
According to data from RV rental platform Outdoorsy, bookings made by the demographic spiked 70% from 2019 to 2020.
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Millennials have been renting and purchasing more RVs than ever before as road trips continues to be a bright spot during the coronavirus pandemic. According to new data from RV rental platform RVshare, 73% of millennials both this and last year reported they were “likely to take an RV trip in the future.”But this year, with borders closed and travel options limited, millennials started showing positive sentiment shifts towards road travel vehicles. While 14% of millennials in 2019 said they were “unlikely to take an RV trip in the future,” only 6% of the demographic said the same in 2020.Read more: A stock picker at a $558 billion firm lays out 2 under-the-radar trends disrupting the future of transportation— and explains why Slack and Virgin Galactic are perfect fits for his portfolio

This rise in RV interest during the coronavirus pandemic isn’t exclusive to millennials. According to a RV Industry Association survey published in June, 20% of US respondents reported becoming more interested in RVing as a result of COVID-19, which initially decimated other travel options like flights and cruises. “Van life is the ultimate uniter, and it sees no age,” Jen Young, cofounder and CMO of the RV rental platform Outdoorsy, told Business Insider. “Traveling via RV provides people with the ability to travel away from crowds and camp in a location where fresh air and open space are your two closest companions — a welcome reprieve after months spent in confinement.”While this general boost in road travel popularity isn’t millennial-specific, the demographic’s increasing interest in RVing — which the RV Industry Association attributes to the “work form anywhere” boom — has now started to show in sales and rental numbers.The changes in millennial RV purchasing and renting habits

The Elevate camper van.

Outside Van

Outdory’s data show millennial RV rental bookings spiked 70% from 2019 to 2020. The same demographic also accounted for 35% of Outdoorsy’s first-time renters, which made up 90% of the platform’s bookings this year.

Besides RV rentals, this is the first time millennials have been more intent on purchasing an RV than any other age segment, according to a survey from the RV Industry Association. Of those surveyed, 30% of millennials reported they were likely to buy an RV in the next year, while only 26% of Gen Xers and 8% of Boomers said the same.This millennial interest in purchasing RVs has been reflected in sales data from Thor Industries. The RV maker said 21.18% more millennials purchased a Thor travel trailer in 2020 compared to 2019, although this sales increase was even greater between 2017 to 2018 at a 23.27% boost.The only age demographic that say an increase larger than the millennial spike in travel trailer purchases are Gen Zers, which bought 26.24% more Thor Industries trailers in 2020 year-over-year as the younger generation matures into adulthood. Read more: An HR exec and her family are waiting out the pandemic in Barbados using the Welcome Stamp visa program and have ‘zero regrets’ — here’s how they pulled off the big move

A millennial road trip favorite, the Class B camper van, has also seen an exceptional boom this year with a 56% uptick in camper van shipments compared to 2019. While Class A and C RV shipments decreased in September 2020, camper van shipments jumped 57.9%, according to data from the RV Industry Association.This boom in camper van shipments continued into October and November with a 115.1% and 125% increase year-over year, respectively. It’s therefore unsurprising that camper van conversion companies — including makers like Outside Van and Off Highway Van — have also been reporting a surge in sales, inquiries, or waitlist times. “Millennials are wanting unique experiences — to get outside and connect with nature, or maybe just to reconnect with themselves or their friends and family,” Young said. 

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