Millennials (those ranging in age from 18-34 years) now outnumber the Baby Boomers and they are also elevating themselves in their RV interests. While only a few years ago they might have been a small demographic for camping, motorhomes and RVing, those statistics have changed. Camping Report indicated in 2016 that millennials made up 38% of campers and while that number is growing, so is their very specific demands in mobile living.
Millennials like Small Living
Unlike many of the past buyers of motorhomes and RV’s, millennials are attracted by small living. This can translate to everything from being able to tow trailers to mini-RV’s and one of their top priorities is that they must be eco-friendly. Another report from the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association indicated that 87% of the RV market is “towables” and this is perfect for millennials.
Millennials were born and bred with the internet and technologies and this plays a huge factor in what they are looking for in their mobile world. Camping Report stated that 43% of millennials have admitted that technology access, including the ability to work remotely, makes it very easy to devote time to camping. Remote work is an attraction for this generation and the beauty of RV, trailer and motorhome life offers more benefits than being tied down to a house or apartment and working in a cube farm for a company.
RV-Makers are Adapting to the Demands
The manufacturers of RV’s and mobile units have been listening to the millennials. They are recognizing that this group is making significant changes in the world of RV’s and have adapted by producing lighter, smaller units. The largest RV-manufacturer, Thor Industries, has coined a term for these new products: RUV’s (recreational use vehicles). Smaller, more compact and easier to use, they offer the kind of technologies that millennials want.
Design improvements have included more durable and lighter trailers, the use of laminated walls so that there is more space inside, while making it easier to haul with their light duty truck or minivan. This is an absolute plus for millennials who are really not interested in purchasing a heavy duty vehicle.
Creating Lifetime Loyalty
While millennials may have high demands for the products that they purchase, they are also known for remaining loyal to those companies that understand and appeal to their needs. RV manufacturers are accommodating this behavior by creating the mini-RV’s and towables that are exactly what millennials want, with all of the technology bells and whistles. Millennials want access to cell, TV and Wi-Fi almost as much as they want toilet paper and with the new smart technologies branching out, the RV companies are speeding to keep up.
The manufacturers recognize the purchasing pattern of millennials. They usually begin with a small purchase, mostly for weekend or mini-vacation getaways. Then as their interests expand, they also start having families and they will upgrade to something larger to accommodate kids and even pets. Once a manufacturer has brand loyalty from the millennials, it is pretty much a done deal.
The entire industry is making incredible changes. Private campgrounds across the country are now offering Wi-Fi as well as full amp hookups at the sites. They have made alterations so that RVers can now use their slide-outs which the public campgrounds don’t allow. This modernizes the private campgrounds to meet and exceed the expectations for millennials and therefore more are making use of private campgrounds and avoiding the public parks.
Millennials Want to Experience Nature, with Benefits
The key aspect in the millennial purchase explosion in mobile life is that they absolutely want to get out and back to nature and appreciate the beauty that so much of the country offers, however they are an incredibly social generation and…they want it all.
A majority of the increase in mobile sales may be within the towable market, but the added benefits of smart technologies combined with connectivity access is what attracts and keeps the millennials coming back. Unlike the Baby Boomers, who work a lifetime and then get a huge RV later in life, millennials are demanding smaller, more compact mobility so that they can take advantage now.
Another encouragement for this generation is that gas prices have remained lower. As long as that trend continues, there will be an increase in millennials buying their towables and mini-RV’s. The manufacturers are also keeping their eyes on the prize because they know that a change in the gas price market will create a downtrend in buying, and they will have to do some fancy dancing to offer alternative attractions that compensate for the increased costs.