Millennials are emerging from their parents’ basements.
Well, maybe not all of them but enough are venturing out and taking their close-to-nature, tech-heavy lifestyles with them to help boost the $50 billion recreational vehicle industry, RV insiders report.
It’s called “glamping” — camping in glamorous fashion — and purchases by millennials, with an elder limit of 35, are helping re-ignite RV sales, insiders said.
While RV sales in the US have increased seven straight years — since 2010, the year after the Great Recession ended — the growth had been slowing for three years until millennials stepped into the breach this year.
“This market is back on fire,” Gigi Stetler, of South Florida’s RV Sales of Broward, tells The Post.
Stetler is on the front lines serving these younger buyers. Her specialty is selling a pre-owned RV for about $15,000 — half its original value — and then adding for an extra $5,000-to-$10,000 customized extras.
Here are some of them:
Special accommodations for pets and extra room for kids or friends;
High-tech amenities like Wi-Fi, smartphone integration, charging stations and premium video and audio systems;
Recreation storage, with room for bicycles, surf boards or kayaks.
“These are the same kids who stopped RVing with their parents as 16-year-olds,” said Stetler, a 54-year-old single mom who’s been selling and refurbishing RVs for 29 years. “Now they’re back.”
Already, Gen Xers, those aged 35-to-55, have replaced Baby Boomers as the most likely RV owners — but the purchasing power of millennials, the largest age group, is on the upswing.
The influx of millennial RV buyers has the industry expecting US sales in 2016 to expand 5.9 percent from last year.
That would be the first increase in growth since 2012, according to the latest industry data.
That growth could be good news for the overall US economy as RV sales — large discretionary purchases — are seen as a leading economic indicator.
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“[Recreation vehicle sales] are always the first to go down in a recession and the first to pop up in a recovery,” Stetler told The Post.
It could mean the economy, which has slowed recently to a point that the Federal Reserve last week postponed an expected rate hike, might have some yet-unseen energy.
A record 396,400 RVs will be shipped this year, up from 165,700 units in recession-hit 2009, according to estimates from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.
The $50 billion the RV industry contributed to the US economy in 2015 included $16 billion in new RV sales.
Thor Industries, the largest publicly traded RV maker, which makes the popular Airstream brand, has seen its share rise 14 percent this year, to Friday’s close of $64.
Shares of Winnebago Industries haven’t fared as well. They are up 3.8 percent this year, to $20.65.
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The company was downgraded last week by Zacks research tracker, which cited a decline in sales of its motorized RVs from last year’s comparable period.