Can the RV business survive without younger buyers?
The Recreational Vehicle industry has skyrocketed with the recent times. If you are an RV manufacturer or an RV dealer, this moment is likely very prosperous for you. Considering many complicated financial metrics, including sales increases and exorbitant industrial valuation projections, the RV industry knows that this success will not last unless they are able to capture the much sought after millennial generation.
It seems obvious that if a company, market or industry is going to prevail, they need to cater to their customers. At the end of the day, if RV company “A” does not appeal to the RVers of tomorrow, then RV company “B” will. As the times change, so do customer preferences.
RV CEO understands that he needs to change if he wants to appeal to younger buyers.
Take Airstream Trailers, for example. The beautiful, iconic and silver aluminum armor has not changed much since the company began 88 years ago – you know that when you see the “Silver Bullet” streaming down the highway. An Airstream Trailer certainly does not look like it’s from our time, and still, they sell remarkably well. The tube-shaped aluminum shell of the Airstream is a righteous slap of nostalgic wonder. However, they have lasted nearly a century of progress. Why? Because a younger crowd is drawn to the durability of the Airstream, the silver sleek appearance, the modern interior design, and of course, their satisfying resale value.
Airstream CEO Bob Wheeler, said in an interview with Forbes that, “We really have to bear down and understand how Airstream is going to be relevant for millennials and Generation Z in the coming years, and I’m not convinced it’s just a variant of our classic Airstream travel trailer.”
This year, Airstream introduced new versions of their iconic trailer, in an attempt to appeal to the younger generations. These new Airstreams are smaller, and, accordingly, more affordable. Besides those factors, there really is not much difference between the models. Wheeler, however, is thinking of more extreme changes to the Airstream.
“Our product is expensive, and it’s lightweight, but it’s not light enough for the needs of many millennials who are driving Subarus and crossover SUVs”. Such vehicles are not strong enough to haul RVs. “We can’t kid ourselves that we can just tweak the formula here and expect it to go on for the next generation. So we’re taking a deep dive to consider setting aside some of the things that we might have considered restraints in the past.”
How can you change something as epochal as the Airstream trailer?
After all, the Airstream is so simple, if you take away its bullet shape, rivets, or the cladding, what do you have left? Whatever it is, it is not an Airstream trailer!
RV industry leaders, such as CEO Wheeler, need to attract younger generations to the RV. In fact, marketers have recently begun reporting heightened interest from younger generations, who prefer traveling with RVs as opposed to treacherous flights and highly priced hotels.
Another popular theory to explain the surge in RV’s with younger generations, is that genX-ers and millennials are looking for memories and adventure on their vacations. The stressors of flight and hotel don’t cut it anymore. Even for families, an RV vacation is easier and more relaxing.
Save money while living in an RV
Living in an RV appeals to today’s younger generation because it is economical. Owning an RV can be quite cheaper than paying a mortgage or throwing money away in rental payments. Plus, having a motorized RV to drive around can even eliminate automobile payments. Even when you add in the cost of RV parks and gas, it is usually still considerably cheaper.
Entry level travel trailers start at $7,000 – $10,000 and are equipped with a bed, small kitchen and restroom. Younger buyers who want to save money can easily accomplish this by living in an RV and cutting down on the many costs of living in a typical home or apartment.
It is all about the outdoors and technology
As every generation before them, younger buyers also love the freedom of going wherever they like, especially off the beaten path. In addition to the outdoors and nature, younger generations are driven by their affinity and comfort with technology. With their RV, they can enjoy time away in the woods or scenic landscapes around the country and still be “connected”, even conduct international business meetings or play their favorite video games.
One great benefit of technology, is the ability to work from home. If you live in an RV, and your job has you on a computer, your home is wherever you are parked. For more tips on how you can stay connected while RVing the great sites on your trip list, check out these articles!