The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Thu Jun 23, 2016
If there is one trend that has dominated the RV industry over the past few months, it is the nostalgia factor – the drive to create retro products that remind customers of a time long ago.
Plenty of RV manufacturing and supplying businesses have recognized the trend and have immediately started to produce models and parts that reflect an older, perhaps simpler time.
Winnebago Industries made sure it was ahead of the curve.
The Forest City, Iowa-based company unveiled its new teardrop trailer at the Elkhart Open House in September of last year, when the nostalgia factor was just starting to gain its traction.
The 2016 Winnie Drop is designed to cause the older generation to hearken back to the 1950s and 60s, while appealing to the younger generation in terms of the vintage aspect, Winnebago Public Relations Manager Sam Jefson says.
The lightweight teardrop trailer has a one-piece fiberglass body, coming in at 2,780 pounds. However, most of the customers aching for retro trailers still want the modern age amenities. The teardrop trailer has the 19-inch LCD TV, a convection microwave, shower and air conditioning, along with the queen size bed.
Other RV manufacturing companies have recognized the trend as well and have jumped on board. Gulf Stream Coach also has built a retro style Vintage Cruiser, a lightweight travel trailer of its own.
Gulf Stream Coach Marketing Director Paul Campbell says the volumes for the company are up about 60 percent compared to last year, and he points to the positive response the company has received from both dealers excited about the various possibilities a retro trailer gives them, as well as RV customers, both young and old, hoping to buy a piece of the past.
Jefson says people don’t have to have grown up in the ‘50s and ‘60s in order to be affected by the grasp of the past.
“I think a lot of people relate to traveling when they’re younger and going on those trips with families,” Jefson says. “Those products make people smile. They remind them of good times on the road, summer vacations, things of that nature.”
The other trend that is gaining traction – one that both Jefson and Campbell pointed to – is the emergence of Type B motorhomes as the No. 1 priority over the larger and seemingly more luxurious Type As.
Winnebago also has capitalized on this trend, recently releasing both the 2016 Travato and 2016 Era models.
The Travato is built to allow the RV owners to attach a kayak or a boat to the top and get out on an adventure, touring some of the rougher terrain. The Era on the other hand, is a little more upscale, built on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis and is a little smaller. Both models have experienced growth because of the popularity recently in Type Bs that are easier to handle on the road and park in a normal parking lot, Jefson says.
“We’re focused on making it light and airy and open to give the appeal of more space and that has gone over really well,” Jefson says. “We’ve also been able to market the product in a good way to makes ure we’re making the consumers interested to see that Winnebago does build something of a smaller size. It’s a little more unique when they think of Winnebago.”
Both of the trends Jefson and Winnebago have noticed are things they, like plenty of other manufacturers, have already capitalized on and rolled out models onto the street.
For those in the industry, It’s about staying on top of and ahead of the curve.