- Winnebago and its dealers are experiencing “record retail and orders,” CEO Michael Happe said on Fox Business’ “Varney & Co.”
- Winnebago is also seeing an increase in millennial and Gen-X customers.
- This demographic has been interested in off-grid RVs with more tech and connectivity.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Driving around in an RV is becoming cool again: Winnebago’s RV sales are skyrocketing thanks to millennial and Gen-X customers and a boom in road travel, Michael Happe, the company’s CEO, told Fox Business‘ Stuart Varney on the “Varney & Co” show on June 23.
Under one in every 10 Winnebago buyers are now 30-years-old or younger, and the average age of its customers has subsequently been dropping, Happe said.
Along with this rising base of younger customers comes new RVing trends. According to Happe, millennials and Gen-Xers have been gravitating towards off-grid overlanding RVs with boosted power systems like solar panels and lithium-ion batteries.
“They want to experience the outdoors, but yet they want to be connected,” Happe said.
Last year, Brian Hazelton, Winnebago’s senior vice president, told Insider that the company had also been seeing an increase in demand for connectivity-related features.
“As we learned more about the Class B van business, we started to see those demands for connectivity,” Hazelton told Insider in September 2020. “That customer group was really pushing us to do … a lot of those things before the covid pandemic started.
“But obviously with COVID, we’re ramping up the pace and really trying to look at the product and say, ‘Okay, how can we not take the traditional RV and make it into an office, but maybe start designing the office and make it into a traditional RV’, Hazelton continued.
Along with this “phenomenon” of a demographic change, Winnebago’s business has been booming: the company is now delivering RVs at “record levels” with dealers seeing “record retail … and orders.”
Winnebago isn’t the only RV maker that’s seen massive success during the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, Thor Industries – which owns RV brands like Jayco and Airstream – reported a $14.32 billion order backlog, the company said in its 2021 third-quarter earnings report. And now, Thor is “pretty much sold out for the next year,” Bob Martin, the company’s CEO, told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on “Mad Money.”