35 RV Industry Statistics, Trends & Analysis

#1. The RV industry creates $50 billion in economic impacts within the U.S. annually. More than 23,000 businesses are currently involved with the industry, providing almost 45,000 direct employment opportunities and nearly $3 billion in direct wages. (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association [RVIA])

#2. The RV industry has an active role in Canada as well. Over $7 billion in retail sales is generated by the industry each year. (Statista)

#3. The U.S.-based RV industry generates over a half-million wholesale shipments of RVs each year, at an annual retail value of almost $18 billion. (Statista)

#4. Americans are the largest market segment for the RV industry to-date, with over 40 million people reporting that they take part in some form of recreational vehicle camping activities at least once during the year. (Statista)

#5. 9 million families in the U.S. report ownership of an RV right now. There are about 16,000 campgrounds and parking facilities throughout the country, both public and private, which support RV camping. (RVIA)

#6. More than 100 manufacturers are currently active within the RV industry right now, with most of them based in the United States. An additional 300 manufacturers, distributors, or suppliers of RV parts helps to support the industry as well. (RVIA)

#7. 94,000 wholesale shipments of fifth-wheel RVs occur each year, compared to 62,000 wholesale shipments of motorhomes, which are traditionally viewed as the primary RV families own. (Statista)

#8. One of the reasons why RVs are popular in North America is the cost-savings opportunity they offer families. A vacation or holiday using an RV can be more than 60% cheaper than a traditional vacation at a hotel, bed and breakfast, or similar type of accommodation. (CBRE Hotels)

#9. About 1 in 5 Americans say that they prefer to take a hiking/trekking vacation which involves RV camping. (Statista)

#10. About 1 out of every 4 campers in the United States is under the age of 18. (Statista)

#11. In 2017, the RV industry reported that over 200,000 indirect loans were generated at retail locations offering recreational vehicles for sale. The total amount financed by households purchasing RVs totaled $8.4 billion. (RVIA)

#12. The average amount financed by a household that has decided to purchase an RV is more than $45,000. (RVIA)

#13. 80% of the recreational vehicles which are offered for sale each year are manufactured in just one state: Indiana. 3 out of every 5 RVs that is sold comes from just one county in Indiana: Elkhart County. (RVIA)

#14. Although there are affordable RVs on the market today under $10,000, the average price of a motorhome is much higher. Type C motorhomes retail for around $100,000, going up to $150,000. Type B motorhomes are priced in the same range. A Type A motorhome might retail for more than $500,000. (RVIA)

#15. Millennials have embraced the RV industry has they have begun to embrace the idea of camping. According to current figures, 38% of households that enjoy camping involve Millennials, which is more than their representation in the general population. (CNBC)

#16. As Millennials have embraced camping, industry revenues for RV manufacturers have increased dramatically. Winnebago saw a 75% increase in revenues in a single quarter, while Thor Industries saw a 57% revenue increase in 2017. (CNBC)

#17. For families which own a compatible truck, the retail price of a camper trailer or a folding trailer can be as low as $6,000, while still being able to accommodate a family of 4. (RVIA)

#18. Park Model Recreational Vehicles, or PMRVs, are one of the more unique products sold by the industry. Think of a PMRV as a tiny house situated on a trailer. In 2017, over 4,000 units were sold for the first time, reflecting an annual growth rate of 10%. (RVIA)

#19. In 2017, the RV industry celebrated its eighth straight year of seeing sales growth. During this 8-year span, the recreational vehicle industry has been able to grow by more than 200%. (RVIA)

#20. The typical household which owns an RV in the United States has an HHI of $62,000. These families will spend an average of 4 weeks each year using their RV in some way. (RVIA)

#21. The average age of an RV owner in the United States is 48 years of age. (RVIA)

#22. Although Millennials are discovering the RV industry, it is Generation X and Baby Boomers who make up the biggest segments of the industry. Households in the 35-54 age demographic are the most likely to own an RV in the U.S. right now. (RVIA)

#23. When households involving the 35-54 and 55+ age demographics are combined, they are responsible for 20.3% of total RV ownership. (University of Michigan)

#24. 90% of the households which own an RV report that they take at least 3 trips with their vehicle or trailer each year. This is in addition to their regular vacation that they take. (RVIA)

#25. More than 7,000 dealerships currently operate in the United States, serving the RV industry. About 50,000 direct employment opportunities are created through this segment of the industry. (IBIS World)

#26. 1 out of every 5 RVs that is owned in the United States is classified as a “conventional travel trailer.” 14% of households own a Type A motorhome or a fifth-wheel. PMRVs come in third, representing 12% of RV ownership. (RVIA)

#27. The most common reason cited in RV ownership is that it allows families a way to go camping that is easier than traditional camping options. 89% of households which own an RV say this was a primary reason for their purchase. (RVIA)

#28. Almost a half-million RV owners say that they use their recreational vehicle as their primary residence. (University of Michigan)

#29. The average RV owner will drive around 4,500 miles each year in their RV. (University of Michigan)

#30. Pets are popular with RV owners as well. 54% of households which own an RV say that they bring their pets along when they travel thanks to how their RV is designed. (University of Michigan)

#31. Although 5 countries make up the majority of industry exports for the U.S.-based RV industry, Canada is the primary export destination. Each year, more than 90% of industry exports go north. (Department of Commerce)

#32. The value of exports for the RV industry totals about $1 billion each year. (Department of Commerce)

#33. About 20% of recreational vehicle owners say that they take advantage of camping locations outside of a traditional campground. (RVIA)

#34. The most popular destination for RV owners in the United States is Yosemite National Park. Over 250,000 visitors come to the park every year with their recreational vehicle. (RVIA)

#35. Since 2001, there has been a 16% increase in household ownership of recreational vehicles in the United States. When the industry is tracked back to 1980, over 60% more households own an RV now compared to then. (RVIA)

#36. The RV industry contributes almost $6 billion in taxes to the U.S. economy every year. (RVIA)

RV Industry Trends and Analysis

The RV industry is often seen as a good indicator for the health of the U.S. economy. When revenues are growing and strong within the industry, then earnings and investments are equally strong. If they are weak, then a possible recession is near.

In 2007, right before the so-called Great Recession, industry sales were off by more than 10%, even though economic indicators showed growth levels of more than 4%.

With industry sales reaching levels not seen since before 1980, the next 5-year period for the RV industry looks to be very positive. If additional export markets can be developed in high-interest areas, such as Europe and Japan, then the potential for export revenues could triple by 2028.

Canada will continue to be a top importer of RVs for the industry. As incomes rise in Mexico, additional export opportunities may be available there as well. Changing tax laws, however, may create artificial reductions in sales due to uncertainty.