PPL Motorhomes: Is the new RVer getting younger?

One of the things I’ve been seeing a lot at PPL Motorhomes is that the age of new RVers is getting younger, specifically with the “Baby Boomer” generation who are approaching retirement. This isn’t news to anyone, especially the “boomers” themselves, but since we sell Used and Consignment RVs, we see a lot of first timers. Owning an RV falls right in line with the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 who have a love affair with anything on wheels.

The following are excerpts from a piece from an occasional series published by the Miami Herald I think you may find interesting.

Oh, how Baby Boomers love their wheels. Weaned on hot rods, raised with Mustangs and Camaros, inspired by the rebellious freedom of the counterculture film Easy Rider, they’ve had a lifelong affair with all things motorized. Whether it was the VW microbuses that symbolized 1960s hippie life or the Hummers that screamed excess at the turn of the century, what they drove defined who and where they were. Cars, motorcycles and recreational vehicles became more than transportation. They were fashion statements.

“For Boomers, a car wasn’t just a car,” says George Hoffer, a Virginia Commonwealth University economics professor and auto analyst. “It was freedom. It was mobility. It was the fun that came with being able to go.”

For the parents of Boomers, most of whom who had suffered through the Great Depression and World War II, a car was something of a luxury. By the time the oldest Boomers posed for their driver license pictures, however, teenagers thought of a vehicle as a necessity. Desire varied a bit by geography. Miami, for instance, has always had more of a car culture than New York, with its mass transit.

“Boomers grew up with the expectation of mobility,” says Lance Wilson, executive director of the Florida Recreational Vehicle Trade Association. “They also were raised with more affluence.”


Boomers are definitely in the driver’s seat:

  • Four years ago, AAA published its first Easy Reading North American Road Atlas, which offers 40% larger type than standard atlases. It has been marketed to Boomers as “easier on the eyes for the generation known for its independence and wanderlust.”
  • Baby Boomers account for more than half of all new vehicle purchases and make up almost 60 percent of all drivers, according to Scotia Economics, a research and policy development outfit.
  • Motorcycle riders 45 and older made up 46% of all riders in 2008. Boomers outnumber Generation Y riders by a margin of 2 to 1.
  • Aging Baby Boomers nearing retirement are fueling the increase in RV demand, industry experts say. Today one in 10 vehicle-owning households in the age group of 50 to 64 own at least one RV. The average age of an RV owner is 49.

As they age, experts say Boomers’ transportation choices will force them to balance image with comfort, desire with reality. Those who once zoomed down the highway on fast bikes will want something easier on their backs.

“Boomers want to experience the road with all the comforts of home,” says Dick Shaefer, owner of the website boomerrver.com. “They want to enjoy the experience of camping with their microwaves and their queen-size beds.”

We hear about  perfect examples everyday. Parents who camped with her sons throughout their Boy Scout career  Now purchasing Class A motorhomes for those grown children and their families in hopes of continuing the tradition of travel and the outdoors.

Trust me, there’s nothing like retiring in style! Do you already have an RV? Are you planning on getting one? Did you stumble on this post and want to know more information about RVing? Leave me a comment or call PPL Motorhomes…we should have all of the answers!