Unpacking 2023’s Impact on the RV Industry

The RV industry is an ever-changing thing, flexing with the road, just like the homes-on-wheels it puts into the world. We’ve seen the market rise and we’ve seen it fall. New, interesting models are put out there and some make it, while others flop. The demographics change as new RVers join and others turn to other interests. 

Wondering how this year is going in the world of RVing? Here’s what you should know about the RV industry in 2023. 

RV Sales Have Returned to Normal

2021 and 2022 were huge for the RV industry. The pandemic sent people looking for ways to travel safely, and RVing was the answer. This, coupled with the freedom people found by working and schooling from home, meant sales were up. Way up. In fact, 2021 saw a record breaking 600,240 RV shipments

Now that things have returned to normal, these sales have dropped off. RVIA reports that there were 24,095 RV shipments in June. This is a 46.4% decrease from June 2022. The same source reports that sales have dropped 49% and are essentially back to pre pandemic levels. 

Prices on RVs Have Dropped, but Only Slightly

So demand for RVs is down. On top of that, supply is back to normal after a huge shortage due to factories that closed during the pandemic and the huge boom in sales immediately following the closures. As you might have guessed, this has led to lower RV prices. That said, the prices have not dropped as much as you might think.

Despite the huge changes in supply and demand, the cost for new campers has only dropped around 2%-3%. This is good news for sellers, but it might lead some buyers to wait and see if prices drop a bit more. Based on the current economy, we think this could go either way.

RV Prices

Now that the market has calmed down, it’s easier to become an RV owner!

RV Ownership Remains High

The demand for new RVs might be dropping, but that doesn’t mean everyone is selling. There are a huge number of RVers still out there. In fact, Camper FAQs reports that the camper ownership has increased 62% over the past two decades and it shows no sign of dropping off. 

We imagine many people are using their RVs to enjoy more budget-friendly travel in this uncertain economy. RVing removes the need to pay for expensive hotel rooms and eat at pricey restaurants. It also puts travelers in a position to enjoy nature’s wonders rather than paying entrance fees at overpriced tourist attractions. 

Full Time RVing Remains Popular

Another reason people are hanging onto those rigs and ownership is up? Full time RVing is still incredibly popular. Over 1 million Americans live in their RVs full time. This number has grown tremendously in recent years, as more and more people have started working from home and homeschooling their kids (in part because of the pandemic).

Even as many people return to working in offices and sending their kids to brick and mortar schools, many refuse to return to this old “normal” and continue to work and school on the road. 

RVs are Being Built for Full Timers

Because there are more full time RVers on the road than ever before, we are seeing more and more RVs being built for full timers. We see floor plans with built-in offices, which are incredibly popular with the individuals who have to work as they travel. We’ve also seen a variety of different gathering “hubs” in newer RVs that go beyond the traditional (and often less-than-ideal) dinette. 

It will be interesting to see how the wants and needs of full time RVers continue to affect the evolution of RVs as a whole. 

The Younger Demographic Continues to Camp

In recent years, we have seen the average age of RVer drop significantly. What once was a pastime enjoyed almost exclusively by those 55 and older has become a hobby that all ages enjoy together. 

One study showed that RV ownership is now split almost equally between those over 55 and those under 55. The most significant growth was in the 18-35 year old age group. These younger RVers now make up around 22% of the market, and that trend is holding strong. 

Campgrounds Remain Booked Up

There once was a time when an RVer could head out on a Friday night without any reservations, knowing they would find a campsite with ease. This is no longer the case. While the impossibly booked campgrounds of 2021 and 2022 are no longer a problem, because there are still so many RVers out there, campgrounds continue to be booked up on weekends and during busy seasons. 

This is a bummer for those who like to fly by the seat of their pants, but it is also a sign that the camping industry is thriving. This means we aren’t likely to see campgrounds closing and will instead see more campgrounds opening up in the near future, a good thing for those who like to have options.

Just make sure you make reservations before each trip!

Younger Demographic

In recent years, the average age of RVers has dropped significantly! This proves as a bright future for RVing.

Environmentally Friendly RVs are Here

The newest and most exciting thing in the RV industry? Environmentally friendly RVs. Many RV manufacturers have taken steps to ensure their rigs are as kind to the earth as possible, making it easier for consumers to make green choices. 

Some features of current “green RVs” include things like solar panels, rainwater recycling, lithium batteries, low-flow water systems, and more. 

Something more exciting than the traditional RV being outfitted with eco-friendly features? The Lightship RV, which was announced in March of 2023. This incredible trailer has a variety of green features, but the most exciting one is that it uses clean energy to propel itself, meaning it can be towed by an electric truck and it won’t change the truck’s range. Towing with gas? The trailer won’t affect your MPG either. 

Prefer an eco-friendly, all-electric motorhome? You won’t have to wait long, as a few different options were announced in 2023 and will be on the market soon. We especially like the look of the Winnebago eRV2

There you have it, a summary of the RV industry in 2023. We can’t wait to see what will happen in the world of RVing next!

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About Chelsea Gonzales

Chelsea Gonzales has been living in an RV and traveling with her family for 7 years now. She road schools her two children, using various travel experiences as lessons in history, science, geography, and more. During their time on the road, the Gonzales family has had the pleasure of touring the 48 contiguous United States as well as parts of Canada. They have learned a lot along the way and Chelsea is happy to share some of that knowledge through her writing.