The recreational vehicle (RV) lifestyle was on the rise pre-COVID thanks to an overall resurgence in camping. But it has ballooned since, with 16% of Canadian campers taking more trips since the onset of the pandemic (as per Kampgrounds of America’s 2022 Annual North American Camping Report).
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. KoA’s report notes that 54% of new campers were millennials, and while glamping and tent camping were popular in 2021, 57% of new campers expressed an interest in trying RVing in the future.
Pre-pandemic, millennial campers were looking for RVs that were wired for technology and would allow them to work anytime, anywhere. That trend has, in fact, grown; the number of campers working while camping grew from 37% in 2019 to 46% in 2021. Among Canadian campers, 27% reported working while camping in 2021.
KoA is optimistic in its RV outlook. Its data indicates that 56% of campers want to have an RV experience, with close to half (47%) wanting to try full-time RVing. In terms of usage, 77% of RVers traveled in a unit they owned, while 10% rented from a peer-to-peer service; the rest rented from a company or borrowed an RV from family or friends.
The RV sector had a $4.8 billion economic impact in Canada in 2022, with 50,000 RV shipments recorded in Canada that same year. While fourth-quarter RV sales were down 20.9% in 2022, overall revenue was up 11.1% due to sales gains in Q2 and Q3, as per the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association Canada. While general tourism spending has not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels, RVDA Canada’s president notes that pent-up tourism demand (and an anticipated easing of interest rates through 2024) bodes well for Canada’s RV industry.