Updated: Oct 21, 2022
RVs are having a moment. The pandemic added fuel to an already-expanding industry, purchases and rentals are up, demographics are changing, and there are no signs of slowing down.
According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Survey of Manufacturers, 55,014 units were sold in September 2021, an increase of 32% compared to September 2020, setting a new all-time high for the number of RVs shipped in any previous month and quarter.
A record number of rigs are on the road and owners can now manage units with the ease of an AirBnB.
And the trend does not appear to be slowing. In December 2021, The Insider reported that Thor Indstries - which includes Jayco and Airstream - now has an $18.07 billion order backlog. Their first quarter sales were up 56% over the same time in 2021, and just this week Thor reported a 42% increase for Q2 sales. Despite its efforts to improve supply chain, the backlog is so substantial that the manufacturer doesn't expect to fulfull current orders until some time into 2023.
As shown in the chart below, RV wholesale shipments saw a steady increase during the 2010s. Then the pandemic shifted the industry into hyper-speed. Below is a media roundup of RV trends before, during, and after COVID.
Wholesale RV Shipments, 2000-2017 (graphic)
RV Rentals and Sales Surge During Pandemic
Laura Sky Brown. Car and Driver. 5/18/20.
Maggie Fuller, Afar. 5/18/20.
Sean Szymkowski, CNET. 5/19/20.
Jeff Green, Bloomberg. 5/26/20.
Elaine Glusac, New York Times. 6/11/20.
Andy Uhler, Marketplace. 11/25/20.
Sumner Park, Fox Business. 1/23/21.
Popularity, Shifting Demographics, and Capacity Issues
Brittany Chang, Business Insider. 12/22/20.
Lori Sonken, National Parks Traveler. 1/31/21.
Nathan Bomey, USA Today. 2/17/21.