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 13, 2016
While much of the rest of the country is seeing a growing influx of millennials buying RVs, some of the states in the northeastern portion of the country are seeing the growing number of retirees and baby boomers get in on the RV market.
Walter Hynes, the general manager at Scott Motor Home in Lakewood, New Jersey, says the demographics have been sliding more and more toward the older generation during the past few years.
“Millennials make up maybe 3 or 4 percent of our business,” Hynes says. “Occasionally, we’ll get one or two younger people. But a lot of our motorized sales are from people over 50. Ten years ago, the average age was 44 years old for the buyer. Now, it’s maybe 50.”
The demographic movement in New Jersey bucks the trend in much of the rest of the country, where the average buyer is getting younger with every passing year. Hynes says part of the reason he has been seeing more of the older generation is because the younger people could still be recovering from the recession in 2008 and 2009 in an area of the country with one of the higher costs of living.
“The cost of living is so different. Let’s say you’re in a good job making six figures out there, you’re living a good life. Here, if you’re making six figures, you’re just getting by. That’s why you see so many millennials in other states.”
While the Garden State is experiencing the opposite trend on the buyer demographics, it is right in line with the national trend in the growth of the business. Hynes says the business has increased by about 15 percent year over year.
However, a law presented by New Jersey Democrat Stephen Sweeney would raise a tax on fuel of 23 cents per gallon. If passed, the law could impact the miles driven by RVers in the state and thus could impact the industry within the state. However, Hynes says the law has received significant pushback from members of the public.
“The fuel thing right now, Jersey has some of the best fuel prices in the country,” Hynes says. “We’re at about $1.90 a gallon. So 23 cents per gallon would be okay as long as fuel remains in the status quo. But you have a diesel pusher with 100 gallons, that’s $23 of tax. If it raises to $2.20 or so, it would affect the small business guys who use their vehicles and people who commute and sit in traffic for a while.”
The big sellers coming off the lot include the less expensive motorhomes that have many of the same features. Hynes says he is seeing that with the motorhomes and the fifth wheels, where people are looking at a cheaper model. However, Hynes says, especially for a new buyer, the potential RVer does not realize some of the quality that goes missing.
“People feel they can get the $45,000 to $50,000 model,” Hynes says. “That’s the industry creating their own submarket. The high-line stuff is down because of that. But new buyers don’t know.”