#VanLife is out, #TrailerLife Is In

#VanLife is out, #TrailerLife Is In

It’s always been a bit of an oddity about the RV industry: motorhomes drive so much of the press and excitement about RV travel, while the vast majority of RVs sold are trailers. For instance, over the last several years, the class B camper van craze has dominated the RV travel conversation. Do you know how many Class B camper vans were sold last year? A meager 2,109, fewer than 1% of all RVs sold.

The rule of thumb has been that about 15% of RVs sold are motorhomes, and that was true 5 years ago. But towables are slowly increasing their marketshare. This week, the RV Industry Association released their monthly report of RVs shipped to dealer lots, and in July, only 9% of RVs built were motorhomes. That’s down from about 11% last year.

So what’s driving the shift? I suspect there are two things at play:

First, as RVs become more mainstream, they’re becoming less of a luxury item. People with modest means are looking to find affordable ways to vacation, and they’re seeing budget trailers as a solution. That’s only amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people avoid hotels and planes.

The 2021 F-150 pulling an Airstream. The F-150 is the best selling car in America.
The 2021 F-150 pulling an Airstream. The F-150 is the best selling car in America.

Second, pick-up trucks are more popular than ever. Probably a lot more popular than you realize. 72% of light vehicles sold in the U.S. are trucks. The #1 selling car in America is the Ford F-150. 12.2 million trucks (of all brands) were sold in 2019, the highest level on record. Only 5 million were sold ten years prior.

Statistic: U.S. light truck retail sales from 1980 to 2019 (in 1,000 units) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Why do all of these people own trucks? To tow and haul stuff with. And half-ton trucks are more capable of pulling trailers than ever. If they don’t own an RV yet, they probably have their eye on one.

Of course, you may be looking around a campground right now and thinking, there are a lot of motorhomes, this can’t possibly be true. Well, the reality is that motorhome owners on the whole use their recreational vehicles more.


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About author

Jason Epperson

Jason travels the country full-time with his wife Abigail, and three children.

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