RV ownership statistics 2024

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An RV, or recreational vehicle, is both a mode of transportation and a temporary living space for activities such as travel, recreation and camping. Traditionally, enthusiasts have purchased RVs for the joy of road trips and travel comforts, using them as home bases for outdoor adventures. However, during the pandemic years, the primary motivation for purchasing an RV shifted to the necessity of having a place to stay while working.

RVs are categorized into two primary types: drivable large motor homes and towable trailers. The variety in style and size is considerable, ranging from compact camping trailers priced around $10,000 to luxury motor homes costing up to $1 million.


Key insights

It is estimated that around 11.2 million households in the U.S. own an RV.

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The median age of RV owners is 55 years old, but there's notable growth in ownership among younger generations. Millennials and Gen Zers now constitute approximately 22% of RV owners.

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Typically, RV owners spend about three to four weeks per year in their RV.

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The RV industry in the U.S. continues to grow and is projected to reach $47.8 billion by the end of 2024.

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RV statistics

RV ownership in the U.S. has experienced a significant growth, increasing over 62% in the last 20 years. Approximately 11.2 million households now own an RV, marking a record high. In particular, towable RVs have emerged as the most popular category.

The demographic of RV owners is evenly divided between those above and below the age of 55, with a notable growth among 18- to 34-year-olds in recent years. In addition, most RV owners typically own their homes and use their RVs for three to four weeks per year.

How many RV owners are there in the U.S.?

Currently, 11.2 million U.S. households own an RV, a number that has risen over the last decade. This increase in ownership is largely attributed to younger individuals and families who embrace an active outdoor lifestyle, as well as baby boomers transitioning into retirement years. Additionally, RV sales soared during the pandemic as consumers sought new ways to enjoy leisure and travel safely.

Looking forward, it is projected that another 9.6 million households plan to purchase an RV within the next five years.

Who owns RVs?

RV ownership appeals to all ages and is not limited to retirees. It includes a diverse demographic that crosses gender, income and educational background. Notably, the younger generation — specifically millennials and Gen Zers who fall within the 18- to 34-year-old age bracket — now represent a significant 22% of RV owners, and this percentage continues to grow.

In 2022, the trend of younger people embracing the RV lifestyle persisted, with the median age of first-time RV buyers being 32 years old. Furthermore, 31% of RV owners are first-time buyers, underscoring the expanding reach of the RV industry.

How many RVs are shipped monthly?

The latest 2024 report from the RV Industry Association highlights several key trends in RV shipments:

  • In March 2024, a total of 32,243 RV units were shipped, marking a 1.2% increase from the 31,869 units shipped in March 2023.
  • Towable RVs saw an increase, with shipments rising by 5.9% to 29,018 units compared to the previous year's March figures.
  • In contrast, motor home shipments experienced a substantial decline in March 2024, dropping 27.8% to 3,225 units from the same month in the year prior.
  • In the first quarter of 2024, RV shipments totaled 85,941 units, reflecting a 9.3% increase over the same period in 2023.

The data indicates a growing interest and steady increase in RV shipments, particularly in the towable segment.

RV industry size

The appeal of RVs increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in unprecedented revenue growth for the industry. As shipment volumes stabilize from the peak levels seen during the pandemic, RV dealers have adjusted their inventories and enhanced support services to meet evolving consumer preferences and demands.

Over the past five years, the RV industry's revenue has increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8%. It is projected that by the end of 2024, the industry will reach a total market value of $47.8 billion. Moreover, according to the latest estimates, the industry provides employment for approximately 64,946 people.

What about living in an RV?

According to the Florida RV Trade Association, there are several pros and cons to consider before purchasing an RV. The advantages of owning an RV include the following:

  • Freedom: Enjoy the flexibility to live wherever you choose, perfect for those who love exploring and traveling.
  • Travel convenience: With your home on wheels, you can travel seamlessly everywhere.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Lower your living expenses by saving on mortgage, utilities and homeowner's insurance.
  • Neighbor flexibility: If you aren’t compatible with your neighbors, you can simply move to a new location.
  • Ease of sale: When you are ready to move on from RV living, selling your RV tends to be a straightforward process.

Some of the disadvantages of owning an RV are:

  • Maintenance and repair costs: Expect maintenance and repairs, especially with older RVs, which can vary in cost.
  • Parking issues: Securing parking spots, especially in sought-after areas, often requires advance planning.
  • Social challenges: The nomadic lifestyle can make it difficult to build and maintain lasting friendships.
  • Family visits: It might be challenging to visit family if they do not have adequate space to accommodate your RV.
  • Health care accessibility: Regular access to health care providers can be challenging while on the road.
  • Privacy issues: Living in close quarters and potentially noisy campgrounds can compromise your privacy.

FAQ

What states received the largest number of RV shipments?

The top RV shipment destinations in March 2024 include Texas (accounting for 9.92% of the total number of units in the U.S.), Wisconsin (7.37%), Arizona (6.23%), California (5.95%), North Carolina (5.38%) and Utah (5.1%).

What is the median age of RV owners?

While the median age of RV owners is 55 years old, there has been considerable growth among younger generations, particularly in the 18- to 34-year-old bracket.

Is it financially smart to buy an RV?

Depending on your individual circumstances and intended RV usage plans, purchasing an RV can be a smart choice. One strategy to consider is renting an RV to test-drive one before committing to a purchase. This allows you to assess the essential and nonessential features you will require. Once you have identified the model and the additional functionalities you need, you can estimate the total retail price and determine the affordability for your family. When calculating your budget, factor in additional expenses, such as RV maintenance and repair costs, fuel costs (an RV’s fuel economy typically ranges between 8 and 20 mpg), insurance and camping fees.

Is the RV industry slowing down?

Even though RV sales have not sustained the peak levels reached during the pandemic, the RV industry's revenue has continued to grow, with a CAGR of 5.8% over the past five years.

Are RV prices crashing?

It is safe to say that, in general, RV prices are stabilizing in 2024, thanks to easing inflation and anticipated declines in interest rates. This year, manufacturers are making efforts to lower retail prices, which does not imply a reduction in quality or a lack of standard amenities. As you shop in 2024, pay attention to the innovative tactics manufacturers are employing to offer more affordable RV options without sacrificing features or quality.


References

  1. “Media Resources.” RV Industry Association. Evaluated June 1, 2024.Link Here
  2. “Go RVing RV Owner Demographic Profile.” RV Industry Association. Evaluated June 1, 2024.Link Here
  3. “Recreational Vehicle Dealers Industry in the US - Market Research Report.” IBISWorld. Evaluated June 2, 2024.Link Here
  4. “RV Shipments Up 9% Through First Quarter.” RV Industry Association. Evaluated June 2, 2024.Link Here
  5. “March 2024 RV Wholesale Shipment Summary.” RV Industry Association. Evaluated June 2, 2024.Link Here
  6. “Pros and Cons to Living in an RV Full-Time.” Florida RV Trade Association. Evaluated June 3, 2024.Link Here
  7. “The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Smart Buyer Series - Recreational Vehicles.” Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Evaluated June 3, 2024.Link Here
  8. Corder, C. “Will RV Prices Go Down in 2024?” Camping World. Evaluated June 3, 2024.Link Here

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