RVers Plan to Travel & Buy Despite Recession
RESTON, Va., March 27, 2009 -- Consumer confidence may be down, but RVer confidence remains high, according to the biannual Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners, conducted by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Fifty-five percent of survey respondents intend to use their RVs more this spring/summer than last year, and 45 percent are considering another purchase.
Only four percent say they'll use their RVs less this year. Three-fourths said they planned to take more mini-vacations so they could escape stress, spend more quality time with family, and enjoy nature and other outdoor activities.
A primary reason why so many RVers will be traveling -- and even buying in this economy -- this spring/summer is that they appreciate the value they get compared to flying, driving and staying in hotels. Eighty-six percent say RVing is an affordable way to travel. Three-fourths save at least 25 percent when they travel in an RV -- more than a quarter save 35-50 percent. These results echo the findings of a study by international travel and tourism experts PKF Consulting, which found family RV trips are 27-61 percent less expensive than other types of vacations.
"RV travel continues to appeal to people looking to save money and cut costs," says Richard Coon, president of RVIA. "By having their homes-on-wheels with them, RV owners receive a bigger bang for their buck than other types of vacations offer."
In what has to be a positive sign for the economy, 68 percent of RV owners said they believe this is good time to buy an RV, with 94 percent of those respondents saying great deals are available. Buyers who meet income requirements also will be able to take advantage of the new federal stimulus plan that provides for a deduction of sales and excise taxes on the first $49,500 of a new motorhome purchase.
Tim Lundy, 40, of Feasterville, Pa., and Mike Seay, 42, of Lindenhurst, Ill. are recent RV buyers who took advantage of the market to get great deals.
Lundy, who works for the Philadelphia Electric Company, bought a 40-foot 2009 fifth wheel trailer, an upgrade from a 28-foot travel trailer.
"I shopped for several months and there's definitely a lot of great buying opportunities out there," says Lundy.
"If you're going to buy, this is the best time to do it," says Seay, an electrical contractor, who recently bought a Type A motorhome.
According to the survey, 45 percent of RVers are considering another RV purchase. Twenty-four percent are looking to buy in the next year; another 48 percent within two years.
Thirty-four percent of survey respondents said they have attended RV shows this year, helping generate surprisingly robust attendance and strong sales at recent RV shows nationwide. More than 44,000 visited the Florida RV Super Show; 35,000 came out for the Utah RV Show; and 30,000 showed up for the Maryland RV show. RV dealers at the shows reported that people were not just looking at RVs, but buying them, too.
Tim DeWitt, executive director of the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds, said attendance at the recent Flint Camper & RV Show was up 25 percent over last year. He attributes the increase to consumers recognizing that there's never been a better time to buy an RV. "This is a buyer's market," he says. "You can negotiate with dealers, who are discounting heavily."
When RVers hit the road this spring/summer, state and national parks will be among the most popular destinations. Seventy-seven percent of the survey respondents said they'll visit state parks, while 64 percent will visit national parks. Favorite activities while on the road include sightseeing, grilling/cookouts, hiking/walking, attending festivals and fairs, visiting theme parks, and going to family reunions.
RVers also plan to be on the move during major holidays, with 58 percent planning to travel over Memorial Day weekend and 60 percent over July 4th.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association is the national association representing approximately 500 manufacturers and component suppliers producing approximately 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States.
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