Consumer Trends Can Impact 2012 RV Dealership Marketing Campaigns

As successful RV dealers know, the first axiom of marketing is: Know your market. According to Go RVing and the most recent RVIA consumer survey, today's typical RV buyer is 49 years old, married, college educated (75%), has an annual household income of $68,000, is a home owner, and spends his leisure time traveling. A third of RV owners also have at least one child under the age of 18. Two-thirds of RV owners identified themselves as white/Caucasian; 16% as African American, 11% as Hispanic, and 4% as Asian American. Interestingly, the majority of RV purchasers (61%) already own a pickup truck, SUV, minivan or conversion van capable of towing an RV.

For the next decade, the retiring Baby Boomer generation is expected to be the primary driving force behind RV sales gains. America's largest demographic group, Boomers have the disposable income, freedom, time and interest in travel that make RV ownership attractive. RV dealers can expect lifestyle marketing to Boomers to be a core value of their marketing campaign for some time to come. However, even among the Boomer generation, some interesting trends are developing that will offer RV dealers new opportunities to generate sales. Savvy RV dealers that direct a portion of their marketing efforts to cultivating emerging RV buyer groups will position themselves to become tomorrow's RV sales leaders.

As RV dealers plan their marketing campaign for the coming year, they will want to target the following trending RV buyer groups:

  • Women. The economic power women wield is increasing. Female college graduates already outnumber their male counterparts. By the end of the next decade, the average U.S. woman is predicted to out-earn her male peers. As the increase in the number of solo female travelers and the rise in female adventure travel indicate, today's woman is comfortable traveling alone and has the skills and confidence to maintain a motorhome. The last couple of years have seen the development of RV clubs, websites and events dedicated to women RVers. RV dealers can expect women to become an increasingly important RV buyer demographic.
  • Cultural diversity. RV dealers can expect future buyers to be more culturally diverse. The family togetherness aspect of RV vacationing is drawing an increasing number of younger Hispanic couples in their 30s and 40s who have at least one child. The value and economy of RV travel is also attracting more African Americans, primarily in the 35 to 49 age range.
  • Singles. Hard-playing young singles in their 20s and early 30s are turning to RV travel as an inexpensive way to haul their toys (motorcycles, ATVs, boats, dirt bikes) and escape for a weekend of off-road fun.
  • Eco-friendly. The opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural world and to venture into the wilderness has always attracted RVers, particularly empty-nesters aged 50 to 64. Concern about the environment and the eco-friendliness of RV travel compared to other travel methods will increasingly draw a more diverse and younger crowd of new RV buyers.

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