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April 1st, 2014

Memo From Frank & Dave

Recreational vehicle sales in the U.S. were the highest in 8 years in February, at 31,000 units shipped. That’s an 18% higher number than February 2013. Why the jump? We would chalk it up to 1) better products 2) better pricing and 3) the 10,000 baby boomers per day that are retiring and wanting to have some fun in their retirement years. We think that the combination of these three factors, plus some minor items like lower gas prices, will add up to continually rising sales in the years to come. And, as we’ve said a million times, the more RVs on the road, the more RVs in RV parks. You can’t have one without the other.

What’s The Impact Of Higher RV Sales On RV Park Occupancy?

RV sales jumped almost 20% last month, when compared to a year earlier. The assumption is that, the more RVs that are on the road, the more RVs that will be stopping at America’s RV parks. After talking to a number of owners, here are our observations.

Higher occupancy than last year

Youngblood’s Capetown RV Park in Cape Girardeau, Missouri reported an increase of 5% to 10% in occupancy over this time last year. This was true of all of the RV park owners we talked to. Is that a result of higher RV sales? Nobody knows for sure, but it certainly was not because of better weather!

More newbies

Cape Camping and RV Park in Cape Girardeau, Missouri said that there was a significant increase in “new people coming through”. This occurrence is directly related to the higher sales of RVs, in which more new people are being introduced to the industry. A trip to the local RV dealer will prove the point that the manufacturers have never offered better models at lower prices, which is making the decision to buy an RV easier on the consumer.

More young people

St. Louis West KOA told me that they were seeing a marked increase in younger travelers, predominantly in travel trailers. This is a great sign for the industry, which has been criticized in the past for not having enough diversity in age groups. A big portion of the increase in RV sales has been the younger consumer, who is drawn by the fun and economical travel lifestyle that only an RV can offer. As dealers have successfully brought to market great looking RVs at reasonable prices, the impact on the young buyer has been huge.


RV sales are rising dramatically, and the effects include higher RV park occupancy, more first-time RV park customers, and a more youthful customer base. It’s easy to be bullish on RV parks based on the increase in sales and occupancy.

The Battle Of Chevy Vs. Ford – In RV’s – Dates Back To 1931

Ford RV
Chevy RV

If you think the rivalry between Chevy and Ford only exists in automobiles and trucks, you’re wrong. It also goes with RV’s. The blue RV is the 1931 Chevrolet Housecar. This particular one belonged to Mae West, and was given to her by Paramount Studios. The red RV is the 1931 Ford Housecar, which was built in Alabama, but the owner is unknown. It would have been a great story if it belonged to W.C. Fields – especially because the color matched his nose.

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