CBS Local — In the digital era with social media, online shopping and, eventually, driver-less cars, recreational vehicles (RVs) are surprisingly more popular than ever.
RV sales, which include any type of trailer and motorhome, are now at never-before-seen record levels, and their buyers are getting younger, CNNMoney reported.
About 430,000 RVs of all kinds were sold last year, marking a 15 percent increase from the previous year, according to the RV Industry Association. Sales have been steadily rising each year following a one-year decline in 2009, which has been attributed to the 2008 financial crisis.
While some of this trend can be traced to lower gas prices and easy credit, much of it can also be attributed, ironically, to technological advances making extensive road trips more desirable.
Digital natives — people who grew up with internet technology — are also beginning to reach the RV-buying age. More than half of RV buyers are younger than age 45, according to the RV Industry Association.
Although trailers are relatively inexpensive, with prices starting at less than $40,000, many people are investing six figures into motorhomes after easily accessing loans.
“You can see terms as long as 20 years,” Winnebago CEO Micheal Happe told CNNMoney. “So it is more like investing in a second home than it is investing in another automobile.”
But automakers are also benefiting from rising motorhome sales.
Ford Motor Co. makes parts for a majority of the motorhomes sold in the U.S., and business has been booming for them, Ford says.
The RV industry is currently trying to export more motorhomes and trailers outside of the U.S. and Canada. And industry representatives have said automakers are hoping to develop a Chinese camping market.