Landscape is changing
Younger families are moving with homes away from home, writes Stuart Martin
GREY nomads may be battening down the hatches on their wheeled homes away from home. No longer are caravans and motorhomes the exclusive domain of those in the second half of a century.
The stereotypical image of travellers towing caravans — those on the mature side of 50 who have divested themselves of employment and offspring— is fast being joined by families with kids and other demographics discovering the Australian landscape.
Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association of Australia (RVMAA) president Richard Raven says the caravan and motorhome market has survived the recent economic doldrums and buyers from other age groups are back in the market.
‘‘Our main market is retirees, or those planning for retirement. That is growing. But the market that is really growing is the family market — a lot of the 30-40-year age bracket are buying caravans, and not just the cheapest one either,’’ Raven says.
‘‘For the cost of a trip to Bali you can have a caravan, and it’s an asset you can keep and use again.’’
The RVMAA figures show recreational vehicles manufacturing in the past financial year grew 18.4 per cent over 2008/09 to meet a substantial increase in consumer demand.
Raven says a surge to about 6.5 million Australians opting for a local Australian holiday has injected $2 billion into our economy every year.
Winnebago Australia’s sales and marketing manager Max Mayo says the sub-50-year-old market is growing, but the baby boomers are still in the majority.
‘‘The younger market is still a small percentage, but one-third of the popu- lation are baby boomers (born from 1946-64). They’re all now starting to retire or already have,’’ Mayo says.
‘‘There’s about six million of them heading towards us and though not all of them will buy a motorhome, it’s not a diminishing market.
‘‘We’ve just finished the 2009-2010 financial year, it was our second best in 45 years. And 2010-2011 is forecast to be our best ever.’’
The range of caravans and camper trailers on offer now include some for more active lifestyles.
Jayco Australia marketing manager Andrew Ryan says there is a noticeable increase in interest from younger buyers. ‘‘It used to be 70 per cent grey nomads, 30 per cent families; it’s more like 60/40 now. Recent economic problems slowed things down, but the grey nomads are now coming back.’’
One example of the new style of ‘‘active’’ van is Jayco’s BaseStation and Work ’n’ Play van — with room for six people and big toys such as dirt bikes, fishing gear and surfboards.
Mobile lifestyle: you can take it with you, regardless of your age, in modern motorhomes and caravans.