Since its earliest days, the RV buying demographic has been dominated by middle-aged and older adults purchasing RVs for family vacations and retirement living. Today, there is a rapid shift occurring, with the younger generations now showing a big interest in becoming RV owners as well.
In 2022, Millennials, and to a lesser degree Gen Z, combined to represent 22% of the RV owning public. So, what is driving the Millennials to the RV dealership? There are a variety of social, economic, and health-related factors that have led to the uptick in the younger generations taking up RV living. Let’s take a look at some of the most compelling reasons Millennials are buying RVs today.
When it comes to real estate, to say that we are currently living in a seller’s market is an understatement of epic proportions. The cost of real estate has been on the rise for the past decade, and for many Millennials, that means that they have been faced with consistently rising home prices and rental rates for most of their adult lives.
As Millennials have entered early adulthood and begun raising families in an ever more expensive housing market, they have had to think outside the box when it comes to the family home. Millennials have increasingly turned to full-time RV living as a viable alternative to skyrocketing home prices and rental rates in and around the major metropolitan areas.
RV manufacturers like Forest River RV are rising to meet this growing trend by creating fifth-wheel trailers and travel trailers with all the amenities of a traditional home. For example, the latest signature series fifth wheel travel trailers from Rockwood RV feature optional king-sized beds, full-size wardrobes in the private master bedroom area, along with residential style appliances and fixtures in the kitchen and bath area.
The modern work environment has begun to shift away from being dominated by a traditional in-person work environment to offering more flexible remote work opportunities. Millennials have been at the forefront of the push to redefine the modern work environment and have been some of the earliest developers and users of the innovative technologies and services that have made it possible to work from anywhere, including an RV.
As early adopters of the remote working trend, Millennials are more comfortable with the idea of working remotely than many members of the older generations, and this means that they are more apt to live a mobile lifestyle and simply report to work from wherever they happen to be. Because they are not locked into a specific location, they are increasingly apt to choose no location at all by embracing a nomadic full-time RV lifestyle.
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t talk about the van life trend. Millennials have grown up on social media, and one of the most widespread and enduring social media trends to date has been the idea of traveling the country in an RV or campervan while vlogging your adventures to an audience of followers on social media.
Again, RV manufacturers have stepped up to meet the new trend in RVing. Winnebago, the iconic brand most often associated with the large motorhomes, now makes a lineup of campervans decked out with all the comforts and amenities that one would expect from the Winnebago name.
There is no disputing the fact that the Millennials were born into one of the most tumultuous times in the American economy; they have seen the cost of living skyrocket, college education prices climb to levels never seen before, and wages…well stay about the same. Add in the high cost of housing discussed earlier, and you have a recipe for an economic disaster.
Again, Millennials were forced to think outside the box in order to survive and thrive in these challenging economic situations. One of the solutions to arise out of this economic uncertainty was the creation of the sharing economy. Millennials have pioneered the use of the internet and social media to create a broad, interconnected network of bartered services and community apps that allow people to connect with one another to share services and resources in a way that benefits all parties.
For example, mobile apps now make it easy to find locations all over the country where you can park your RV for free. These sites range from boondocking sites with no amenities to full-service RV co-op communities where RV travelers can stay for free as long as they are willing to pitch in to help around the community grounds.
Other sites connect RV owners with people looking to rent an RV for a short time. This allows RV owners to earn income from lending out their RV rather than paying to store it when it is not in use.
What started out as a temporary public health crisis has morphed into a full-scale and long-lasting public health concern. While the pandemic initially sidelined all travel, including RV travel, as time wore on, the population began seeking ways to get out of their homes while still protecting their health. RV vacations proved to be the perfect solution to getting back out into society while still watching out for our own health and the health of our loved ones.
RV travel was made for social distancing and public health safety. Think about it; there is no need to climb aboard a crowded airplane, cruise ship, bus, or train to reach your destination. When you do arrive at your location of choice, there is no need to stay in a hotel room that was recently occupied by strangers. Instead, RV travel allows you to visit as many destinations as you like without the need to share your transportation space with anyone outside your personal family and friend bubble. Because your RV serves as both transportation AND lodging, you always have a clean and private place to stay at each stop on your itinerary.
Best of all, the wide variety of RV parking locations and RV destinations lets you customize exactly how much socializing you want to engage in on your RV travels. This vacation flexibility has allowed Millennials to get the social interaction they crave through RV vacations with friends and family while protecting their health and the health of their family and friends.
There is much debate over whether mental health issues have become more prevalent in the younger generations or whether we as a society have simply gained a greater understanding of mental health issues allowing us to speak more freely about our stresses and mental struggles than we could in the past. Regardless of the answer to this debate, the truth remains that the number of people diagnosed with anxiety and depression-related mental health issues has grown rapidly over the last several years, and the nation is now facing a second public health crisis in the form of widespread mental health concerns.
Millennials have led the charge in finding ways to improve the mental health of the population, and one way that they have found to do this is through stress reduction tactics like flexible work environments, an improved balance between work and home life, and striving to unplug from the hectic pace of city life to reconnect with nature.
Again RV travel and full-time RV living have been the perfect answer to shifting the way that we live in order to reduce stress and improve overall mental health. More people than ever, many of them Millennials, are turning away from technology-based entertainment in favor of outdoor sports and adventures. These adventurous RV travelers have fueled the rise in popularity of lightweight, agile travel trailers, like those from Cherokee RV, that are designed to be light enough to tow with a small crossover SUV, agile enough to get into remote locations, and rugged enough to handle any terrain.
For those who are truly serious about reconnecting with a more natural lifestyle, and burning off stress with some serious outdoor sporting action, toy hauler travel trailers, like the latest lineup from Puma XLE, offer the best of both worlds with comfortable RV living space accompanied by a rear garage area perfect for safely storing your bulky outdoor sports equipment like skis, snowboards, bicycles, dirt bikes, ATVs and more.
The major drawback to RV ownership has long been the high cost of maintenance. The idea that one needs to possess a high level of mechanical or handyman skills to maintain an RV was once a deterrent to younger people entering the RV market. Today maintaining an RV, and handling the inevitable RV repairs, is as simple as purchasing RV extended warranty coverage provided by the RV dealership at the time of purchase or through a third-party RV warranty provider like RVing Solutions.
You don’t need to be a Millennial to get in on the RV living or RV travel trend. Stop by RV Wholesalers or your local RV dealership to check out all the latest RV styles and find the perfect RV for your unique lifestyle needs. Our friendly team of RV experts is here to help!