Outdoor and RV Industries More Aligned Than People Realize

According to RVIA President, overlapping consumers has brought the outdoor and RV industries into increasingly smaller territory and retailers should take notice.

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RV Industry Association President and former Outdoor Industry Association CEO Frank Hugelmeyer believes the line between the outdoor industry and RV industry is blurring as consumer trends shift and the stereotypes regarding RVS change.

“RVing was always viewed as something that’s not hard core enough,” said Hugelmeyer. “I had a lot of old colleagues [in the outdoor industry] who wouldn’t be caught dead in an RV back in the day,” he said. “Yet they’re all in Sprinter vans right now.” He believes this is a telltale sign that the two industries are, in reality, much more aligned than most people realize.

“A wide variety of experiences and a life well lived is now the currency,” Hugelmeyer said. According to him, consumers are moving toward a diversity of activities. As consumers trend toward the desire to do more across different silos, the silos break down. He attributes this to social media promotion, the resurgence of the “American Road Trip” idea, and improved off-road and power technology. He also states that van life has further blurred the line between RVing and traditional camping. 

One brand that Hugelmeyer says is doing a good job of combining the categories and contributing to the “blurring of the line” is Camping World. Since last fall, the RV retailer has acquired independent outdoor retailers Erehwon Mountain Outfitter, Rock/Creek, Uncle Dan’s, and Gander Mountain.

Hugelmeyer hopes moves like this will bring outdoor and RV products under one roof in some locations, and will better serve the originally separate shops overlapping the same customer demographics.

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