Camper and RV Dealers Completely Sold Out Their Inventories

Line of RVs as far as the eye can see traveling down a desert highway
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Line of RVs as far as the eye can see traveling down a desert highway

The coronavirus pandemic brought on a huge surge in the recreational vehicle (RV) and camper industry. Many travelers either canceled or delayed their prior vacation plans. The airline industry had all sorts of restrictions, and some people didn’t want to be on cross-country flights with hundreds of other people in close quarters. Also, many popular vacation destinations were shut down, so people turned to the great outdoors.

The appeal of the RV was that the whole family that was already staying at home together, could hit the road together, in their own little vacation bubble. People who were cooped up and wanted to get out of their houses could hit the open road. The RV was the solution to their problems.

Suddenly, everyone wanted to hit the road, and what better way to do that than by purchasing a giant metal house on wheels?

In a normal year, only about 25% of all RV and camper sales are attributed to first-time buyers. The rest are repeat buyers, who typically will trade in a previous model when they make their new purchase.  During the pandemic, as high as 80% of sales were first-time buyers, who obviously didn’t have anything to trade in. The result was a lot of camper and RV sales lots sat empty by the end of summer 2020, and demand for any type of vehicle soared. Reservations at campgrounds also skyrocketed, and getting a spot proved difficult.

Of course, it wasn't just the pandemic-induced cabin fever that fueled this sudden interest in campers and RVs. It was also the government stimulus checks. Suddenly, people had money burning a hole in their pockets and what better way to spend it than on a giant metal house on wheels? It was like paying for a cross-country vacation, and the biggest souvenir gets parked next to the garage when you return home.

Taking a camper or RV vacation was a way for families to break the monotony of spending all their time cooped up inside their house. They created a positive experience and stayed together in an otherwise bleak time. Everyone was keeping themselves safe and practicing social distancing. They just wanted to do it with a little change of scenery.

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About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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