June '18

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72 • RV PRO • June 2018 rv-pro.com S ome 6 million new North Amer- ican households have adopted the camping lifestyle since 2014 – and those new campers are trending younger and are increasingly multi-cultural. Those are some of the key takeaways from the 2018 North American Camping Report, conducted by Cairn Consulting Group and sponsored by KOA. Other trends identified by the report include a rise in peer-to-peer RV sharing, an uptick in interest in truck campers, and an increased interest by African-Ameri- cans in owning motorhomes. KOA President Toby O'Rourke says the report's findings are positive for the entire RV industry – not just campgrounds. "We've seen really great growth and strong increases in people camping every year, with a 20 percent increase since 2014. (Some) 38 million households camp every year and people are camping more frequently – three times or more a year. It's a positive for everyone in the industry," O'Rourke says. (See Figure 1 on page 73.) In 2017 alone, there was an increase of 2.6 million camper households in the U.S., according to the report. Mean- while, 45 percent of all campers surveyed say they plan to increase camping trips this year. Younger, More Diverse Campers In spotlighting the trend toward younger campers, O'Rourke notes that Millennials (those born between 1982 and 1997) now comprise the largest segment of campers, at 40 percent. Combined with Gen Xers (those born between 1965 and 1982), the two groups make up 75 percent of all households. "Millenials are definitely driving changes we're seeing in our campgrounds. Also, there's a lot more diversity coming in. Looking at new campers that came in last year, more than half of them are multi-cultural. African-Americans and RVing in particular is pretty interesting to us," O'Rourke says. The report found that African-Amer- icans are more likely than other campers to have tried out an RV or would like to purchase an RV. Nearly one-third of Afri- can-American campers say they would like to purchase an RV or become full-timers, compared to 15 percent of campers overall. African-Americans also tried camping in a motorhome in far higher percentages, at 24 percent, compared to just 9 percent of all other campers. O'Rourke says she can't say for sure the cause behind the rise in multi-cul- tural campers, but did say social media influencers like Outdoor Afro, an organization working to connect Afri- can-Americans with the outdoors, and Soulful RV Family, a blog chronicling the travels of an African-American family full-time RVing, have probably helped to create interest and show how possible it is to get out and camp. She adds that the Go RVing campaign has done a lot of work in targeting African-Americans with media advertisements. Another surprising finding was the increase of Hispanic Millennial campers, at 33 percent. Rise of the Multi-Cultural Camper B U S I N E S S The number of new campers in North America has grown by 6 million in recent years, according to KOA's 2018 North American Camping Report. While the development is positive on the whole, it does raise the question of where all those new campers will camp. KOA's annual camping report finds the number of campers is growing fast – and becoming more diverse. Meanwhile, peer-to-peer RV sharing is surging in popularity. By Darian Armer

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