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 .
Wed Jul 6, 2016
In Maryland, going small has become the big thing to do.
Across the state, and virtually across the nation, one of the biggest trends is RV owners buying smaller, towable trailers.
Greg Merkel with Leo's Vacation Center in Gambrills just northwest of Annapolis says his business has been growing for the last four or five years, but he has particularly seen the increase in travel trailers and smaller motorhomes since the onset of spring.
“Everything’s pretty steady for the first four months,” Merkel says. “Trailers were up, motorhomes were down. Travel trailers were up quite a bit. That’s the trend I’m also seeing as a dealer. The biggest boom and the biggest thing that’s helping to drive the market is first-time buyers getting entry-level travel trailers. Our biggest growth has been in the smaller size of everything.”
Merkel also serves as the Maryland state delegate to the National RVDA, and said a lot of the business is the same across the state. At the end of last year, Merkel says his business was up 20 percent. Near the beginning of this year, it is up another 10 percent.
Charlie Wolf with Beckley’s Camping Center in Thurmont on the other side of the state isn’t seeing anything widely different.
“I think the smaller trailer and lighter weight models are what’s selling for us if I had to pinpoint and pull something out in particular,” Wolf says. “Smaller is the biggest stuff.”
Another market in Maryland includes the boaters to RVers conversions. Merkel, whose business lies within six miles of Chesapeake Bay, says one of the advantages he sees with the area is several former boaters switching over to RVs.
“There’s been a good influx of people selling a boat and want to go RVing,” Merkel says. “With their age, they’ve had enough of boating and that’s been a pretty big market for us. Annapolis is the sailboat capital of the world. That’s a luxury we have here.”
In addition, the current market is a perfect situation for new families to buy an RV. Gas prices are low, the job economy is stable and young families just getting into the recreation lifestyle are finding everything matches up with their interests.
Merkel says it’s interesting to see people still so comfortable with buying RVs in an election year. Historically people have waited to see the results after the White House turnover to make large purchases, especially in Maryland, where the District of Columbia is situated.
“Everything’s really positive,” he says. “I don’t see any negatives in the near future. It’s a little odd to have business so good while in an election. It usually affects business altogether. A lot of people have a lot of uncertainty. They tend to not move ahead with stuff they’ve been thinking about. But, at least that’s not the case so far.”