A Look Back: What 2022 Taught Us About the RV Industry

2022 RVing Saw a Mixed Bag of Positive and Negative Influences

There were many positive changes in the RV industry but some of these positive gains were offset by new negative influences. For example, RV ownership now exceeds 11 million households, more than at any other time in history. Camping and outdoor recreation has never been as popular and RVers are enthusiastic about their RVs and their recreational opportunities. However, this has resulted in more pressure in the outdoor hospitality industry and some of the most popular destinations have seen campsite availability shortages. 

Another positive change in 2022, saw supply chain constraints and labor shortages ease as RV manufacturers caught up with back orders and began to fill the pipeline with new models.  Unfortunately, there are still some lingering shortages of key components which continue to challenge manufacturers and service facilities, but the overall health and stability of the RV industry is better than it was in 2021. 

At the same time, however, new financial pressures are impacting RV sales.  Interest rates on big ticket purchases (houses, cars, boats, RVs) are higher than a year ago, inflation worries and an underlying concern about a pending recession are worrisome undercurrents in the minds of RVers and these financial concerns have had a chilling effect on new and used RV sales.

Changing RVer Demographic

There is also a shift occurring in the world of RVing as new people enter this genre. In 2022 the average age of RVers was 49, and it’s the first time the aggregate age dropped below 50.  Remarkably, 22% of all RVers are between 18-34 years of age. Younger and younger people are enthusiastically taking the plunge into RVing and they are excited about their opportunity to travel and recreate, in all types of RVs, from van conversions to full size diesel pushers and fifth wheel trailers. 

Over the past two years, the pandemic protocols and restrictions changed the way people work and play. It changed the way people pursue an education, and it even changed some family dynamics. During the pandemic, many workers were forced to adapt to remote work, or online learning, and now many of them are reluctant to go back to “the way things were”.  They are using this new freedom to work from anywhere and taking their work with them on the road in RVs of every age and style.

New RVing Challenges Require Adjustments

Some of the new RV challenges of 2022, as mentioned above, brought out new coping skills within the RV community.  Since gas prices soared to unprecedented levels in 2022 many RVers continued to camp but they stayed longer in one place or shortened their trips.  This strategy allowed them to continue to enjoy the RV experience and still constrain their fuel budgets.  In 2022, RVers continued to purchase RVs even with higher interest rates, but some chose less expensive RVs, or they entered into contracts knowing they could refinance if and when interest rates returned to lower levels.  

A younger demographic has found their way into RVing. Certain restrictions and changes  helped people find their love for RVing.  

With an influx of new RVers, advanced planning is a must. 

More Planning

One common experience most RVers shared in 2022 was a need for more detailed advanced planning. RVers have always needed to plan their trips but with higher prices for gas, groceries, camp fees, and RVs, the need for more detailed planning became paramount in 2022.  RVers discovered that they needed to plan their trips in greater detail, to be sure they could find places to camp with all the amenities they needed for their recreation and their work. They needed to plan their routes to maximize the discovery and adventures they wanted to experience along the way, without wasting fuel or back tracking.  Fortunately, there are many tools available now for RVers to plan and record their RV adventures, from RV Safe GPS, to trip planners and daily journals. 

RV RECAP – 2022

The shortages, lockdowns, supply chain and labor challenges of 2020 to 2021 changed the RV industry, but 2022 saw the industry’s return to a “new normal”. That new normal included a lot of younger, mobile, working RVers who are energetic and enthusiastic to live their dreams of an enjoyable, healthy, and exciting work/life balance from the comfort of their RV.

If you’re ready to join the 11 million RVers or you want to upgrade your current RV so you can go further and stay longer, be sure to ask one of our professional team members for help, and check out the current inventory of for-sale-by-owner RVs on our website.

About Peggy Dent

Peggy Dent is an author, writer and full-time RVer, currently traveling in the US and Canada. She's driven a motorhome more than 130,000 miles and learned the secrets, delights, and pitfalls of RVing through her own experiences. She shares her knowledge and insights in numerous RV industry publications. You can contact her through her website at www.apeninyourhand.com