This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

March 17, 2004

Rolling Home

Motor homes and travel trailers, described as "recreational vehicles," are seen increasingly on the highways. A 7.8 percent increase in ownership in the past four years is indicative of significant growth anticipated in the years ahead.

Research shows that nearly one in 12 vehicle-owning households in the United States now owns a recreational vehicle. An estimated 7.2 million RVs are rolling across America. Similar industry growth is forecast in other countries.

Retirees comprise a substantial proportion of recreational vehicle (RV) owners. People approaching retirement purchase these homes on wheels to experiment with a different lifestyle. Empty-nesters not quite ready to retire find renewed energy and enjoyment of each other in a part-time or full-time life on the road. Nearly 10 percent of vehicle owners over 55 owns an RV. They drive from one place to another and/or spend weeks or months at one location. Over one million people belong to the 2,000 chapters of the Good Sam Club.

For families with children, RV travel can be a wonderful alternative. They can choose their own schedule, go where they want to go, and save money by fixing their own meals and staying in their own beds on the road. An industry study from PKF Research states families can save up to 70 percent of vacation costs.

Expect the future of the RV industry to be strong; more Baby Boomers will seek alternative lifestyles, different ways to invest their time and money, and a new sense of freedom. This demand bodes well for manufacturing, since RVs on American roads are produced in the United States, a $12 Billion industry. With prices to fit a wide range of budgets, the increasing popularity of RVs will help the economy. Most models are surprisingly affordable with second home financing and long-term mortgages. Today's typical RV owner is 49 years old, married, with an annual household income of $56,000. That age is right in the middle of the Baby Boomer generation, so the market prospects look good.

Additional information and an informative videotape are available from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association at www.rvia.org and from GoRVing.com.


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