SAN DIEGO – The key takeaway from a recent study examining the shopping habits of consumers looking to buy RV aftermarket parts and accessories is that the in-store experience at dealerships cannot be stressed enough.
Presented by RV Industry Association (RVIA) Vice President of Membership & Research Bill Baker on Wednesday at the RV Aftermarket Conference at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina, the study was an update on similar RVIA studies in 2018-19 that offered insight into consumer preferences with regard to aftermarket parts and accessories. The conference concludes today after a third day of one-on-one “appointment sessions” between aftermarket supplier companies as well as distributors, dealers and others.
“While the online marketplace is competitive, brick-and-mortar can better compete on customer service, knowledge base and building a relationship with those consumers. The industry needs to continue to identify ways to capture those buyers at the store,” Baker told the nearly 250 attendees.
Other key takeaways included:
- RVers are looking for parts and accessories everywhere, but ultimately, they’re looking to get the best price.
- In choosing where to purchase, the policy on returns and immediate availability is most important. New RVers being more frequent purchasers of parts gravitate toward ease of finding products, availability, and free shipping.
- Nine out of 10 RVers surveyed suggested that there’s at least one type of improvement needed on their RVs after purchase, with the largest block of RVers mentioning plumbing and sanitation. Solar and related components was also notable.
- RVers across the board are upgrading their RVs more, compared to the 2019 study, with younger RVers making the most enhancements.
“Purchasing among RVers is highest among via Amazon, yet they’re likely to purchase parts and accessories at a variety of locations, suggesting that they are getting information about parts and accessories at several locations and then looking for the best price,” Baker noted. “I don’t think that’s groundbreaking news to anybody in the room. And it probably confirms what a lot of you know anecdotally.
“When they’re looking at what’s important, where they’re choosing to purchase, it’s, ‘Can I get what I need? Can I return it if it’s not the right product, not the right fit?’ That’s what stands out in the purchase decision,” he added.
Culled from 900 RV owners – 300 of which were first-time RV owners – other data included a demographic breakdown of the participants. The average age was 36.5 years old, 60% were married and have children in the household, and with an income of just under $90,000. Excluding first-time RV owners, nearly 50% have owned five or more RVs. Nearly a third have owned four. 16% have had three, and 3% have owned at least two. Lastly, these RV owners spend an average of 14 nights using their RVs each year.
“This is a very strong data point illustrating the popularity and appeal of RVing, showing that RV owners are staying in the market over the long-term and, in that experience, stretches over multiple vehicles – which is great news for the industry in general and the aftermarket in particular,” Baker said.
The complete study results will be made available by RVIA in a few weeks, he added.