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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Pivoting toward millennials, RV sales surge in U.S., Spokane

RVs are lined up awaiting crowds for the 2017 Inland Northwest RV Show and Sale at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
RVs are lined up awaiting crowds for the 2017 Inland Northwest RV Show and Sale at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

The recreational vehicle industry is booming in Spokane and across the U.S.

Kevin Broom, spokesman for the national RV Industry Association, said that the number of RVs sold in the U.S. has increased by about 35 percent since 2015. “Nationally, RVs have never been more popular,” he said. “Last year, over 500,000 units shipped for the first time. And we anticipate 540,000 this year.”

The RV Industry Association conducted a study in 2015 on Washington’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Spokane, and found that the RV industry generates about $97.5 million in direct and indirect economic impact in the region. In all of Washington, RVs generated about $938 million, the study found.

“It’s likely the numbers in 2018 are higher,” Broom wrote in an email to The Spokesman-Review.

Broom said most of those sales, 87 percent, are trailer units. And they’ve become more popular because millennials entering the market are looking for better designed, more fuel efficient models – an appetite manufacturers have tapped into.

For example, Airstream’s Nest travel trailer has a fiberglass body and a compact size, leading to better gas mileage.

Karen Dietz, an owner of Airstream of Spokane, said the Airstream manufacturer cannot keep up with the demand.

“The market has been growing like crazy,” she said.

Dietz has lived in Spokane since 1975, and said she’d guess a significant percentage of people in the city own RVs.

“There are RVs everywhere,” she said. “We’ve got all these camping places everywhere. It’s a great area to have an RV.”

Spokane and Spokane Valley are home to more than 13 RV dealerships.

“We’ve continued to see steady growth in the market,” Keith Woodruff of RnR RV in Spokane. “New dealers are coming into the area to capitalize on it,” he said.

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