The rise of the recreational vehicle.

Millennials are a rapidly growing segment of the RV population – one that offers RV makers a great opportunity in the Canadian market.

 The RV lifestyle has been on the rise thanks to an overall resurgence in camping in general. The 2019 North American Camping Report indicates that the percentage of campers who camped three or more times each year has increased by 72 per cent since 2014. And Canadians are ardent campers, reflecting the highest rate of North American RV ownership at 64 per cent.

Recreational vehicles (RVs) are no longer just for the retiree lifestyle. Millennials are an ever-growing segment of RV afficionados, and one that manufacturers should not ignore.

In some ways, millennials’ reasons for embracing the RV lifestyle are much like those of the previous generations – the desire to escape the everyday, see new places, and have new adventures. But RV-ing also fits with the ‘nomadic’ millennial lifestyle – young people are not tied to one employer for 30 years, much like their parents are grandparents. They’re free to move, thanks to the technological advances that have redefined work and made such flexibility possible.

A difficult housing market has helped made RVs an increasingly attractive – and affordable – option for the millennial traveller. Entry-level, towable RVs start at roughly $11,000, but the industry offers a variety of vehicle types and sizes, with a broad offering of amenities. It’s a slice of home ownership, but with a great deal of freedom.

When buying RVs, millennials seek three key features: towability, technology, and affordability. Younger buyers like their RVs to be wired for technology, allowing them to work remotely while still enjoying travel and adventure. Millennials gravitate toward mini RVs because they’re cheaper, easier to tow, and more eco-friendly. (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association statistics indicate that towables account for 87 per cent of the RV market.) Millennial RV buyers also look for features that include smart technology, solar systems, and electric-powered campers that emit zero emissions.

While millennials are helping spur interest in the RV life (and camping in general), older generations should not be discounted. The 2019 Camping Report states that Gen X-ers are camping more as their children get older, while Baby Boomers find that retirement offers them more time to camp.

Companies that build – or build technology for – RVs could find opportunities in this growing Canadian market.

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