January '19

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18 THE SHOP JANUARY 2019 share the experience, as an 11-percent rise in families camping since 2014 indicates. Also, 52 percent of households camping are doing so with children, and whether this is due to the rise of millennial families taking to the outdoor lifestyle or to the importance of getting their kids outside, it's an interesting trend to monitor. MORE ON MILLENNIALS In an interesting aside to the study, single millennials are camping with their par- ents, and involving them in their own camping trips. Millennials tend to camp in groups, and more so among non-whites (Asian-Americans in particular), who view camping as a social activity. Millennials comprise 37 percent of RV owners and 40 percent of all campers. They are the largest segment of the camper base, and millennials and Gen-Xers continue to drive this growth. These two groups should be your target audience when thinking of products and services you might offer to the camping crowd. Investment bank Roth Capital Partners, in its 2018-'19 Millennial Survey, found that millennials are benefitting from low unemployment, and 77 percent think that the economy will be the same or better next year. Also interesting—more than half have decreased their social media usage over the last year, mainly due to a perception that it is unhealthy. While two-thirds of millennials prefer to research significant purchases online, 57 percent still prefer to purchase in-store. Millennials value authenticity, transpar- ency and the ability to access their favorite brands seamlessly across multiple channels. All of this came as somewhat of a sur- prise to the RV industry, while the outdoor category knew this was coming from the increase in traffic and sales at retailers like REI, Adventure 16 and up-and-comers like Footsloggers in Boone, North Carolina, and Portland, Oregon's Next Adventure. While baby boomers and the Silent Gen- eration (1945 and earlier) were previously the primary targets of the RV industry, life- style changes and redirection by younger generations to get outside have had a profound impact on the RV and outdoor industries. If you choose to engage campers, they can be a new source of customers and a unique income stream for restyling, 4x4 and accessorization shops. Regular readers may recognize these three key points from a previous article; only this time applied specifically to younger campers who may become truck owners GET OUT! Strollers and kids, hardly an anomaly among campers, will only fuel continued growth in this market. Camping can be viewed as a way to get away from it all, or as a social activity. Your expertise will help keep campers headed off-road away from trouble.

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