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Baby Boomers Create RV Travel Boom

Why baby boomers are increasing RV sales


Why are baby boomers having such a profound effect on the popularity growth of RV travel? Let’s look at the statistics.

Baby boomers — the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 — represent almost 30 percent of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. From 2000 to 2010, the number of Americans 55 to 64 years old will grow by 47 percent, making it the fastest-growing population group in the U.S. During the same 10-year period, the U.S. population overall is expected to grow by about 9 percent.

By 2015, all baby boomers will be over 50. Today, people over 50 control more than:

  • $7 trillion in personal wealth
  • 50 percent of all discretionary spending
  • Nearly 80 percent of all leisure travel

Once the rest of the baby boomers pass the half-century mark and are over 50, those numbers will be even higher.

RV ownership in the U.S. is growing faster than the population
According to the RVIA study, nearly one in 12 U.S. vehicle-owning households (approximately 7 million) now owns an RV.

That number is expected to grow to 8 million households by 2010 as more baby boomers enter their prime RV-buying years. That’s an increase of 15 percent between 2001 and 2010, compared to overall U.S. household growth of only 10 percent during the same period. Among all U.S. households, one in six plan to purchase an RV in the future.

The RVIA study found that the average RV owner is married, owns a home, and has an annual household income of $56,000. RV owners have a median age of 49, and nearly 10 percent of all Americans 55 and older own RVs. According to the study, RV owners tend to spend their free time and disposable income traveling—an average of 4,500 miles and 28-35 days annually.

Renting an RV is an easy way to experience RV travel
Approximately 7.2 million RVs are on the nation's roads, according to the University of Michigan study, and the RVIA estimates there are as many as 30 million RV enthusiasts nationwide, including RV renters. In fact, renting an RV is a very popular way for people to try RV travel before making such a major purchase.

The RV rental business is a $350 million industry and grew by 34 percent in 2004, according to figures compiled by the U.S. Census of Retail Trade and the RV Rental Association (RVRA). There are more than 460 RV rental outlets located across the country.

A Final Word about RVs
Ultimately, the affordability of RV travel, combined with the comfort, convenience and personal freedom it offers, makes an RV vacation irresistible to many people, including a growing number of baby boomers.

If you want to learn more about renting or buying an RV, and how to decide which option is best for you, you may want to read RV Travel: Should You Rent or Buy Your RV?

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