Ever since we started RV shopping nearly 2 years ago, we noticed that the RV industry caters more to the boomers and retirees (who I call ‘traditionals’), versus Gen Xers. There is a growing group of non-traditionals who are hitting the road, and working remotely due to their ability to stay connected with better data / internet service. But dealers and manufacturers seem slow to embrace this new generation of RVers. A lot of the dealers we walked in to wrote us off before we even walked in the door. We are serious shoppers with money to spend! I hope they listen… (I refer to Gen Xers as that is the demo group we fit within, but the same can be said for some Gen Yers as well).
Speak our language: Gen Xers generally HATE using the phone. We are a little like millennials that way. So don’t call us. Just send us a text us or email us. That’s how we like to communicate. (And don’t email us asking us to call you… we won’t.)
Be open when shoppers are shopping: Here in Virginia, dealerships are not (typically) open on Sundays! Well, we work during the week, so weekends are the time we’re able to shop. Why not be open when your shoppers are shopping? Makes sense to me. (Note – we live in a market that has mostly small dealerships. The larger dealerships are hit or miss for being open on Sunday).
Ask us what we want and LISTEN. We (kind of) know what we want: We fell in like with a couple of RVs before we chose Boomer. But the dealers weren’t listening to our needs and providing solutions. The salesman who sold us Boomer listened and we ended up picking the perfect RV for our current needs.
Design for tomorrow. Please please please design units for Gen Xers. How many manufacturers are conducting market research with the new generation of RVers? My guess is none. Our needs are different. How ?
- No fancy fabrics! No patterns and fussy window coverings.
- Swooshes – get rid of them. Inside and OUT.
- Floor plans – consider ‘work space’ for full time remote workers.
- Power – we want to be able to stay wherever we want – boondocks or campground. Make sure we have power options for both.
- Gear heads – we like out gadgets! And need outlets everywhere.
Steal ideas. What is the latest trend in kitchens? Paint colors? Wallpaper/wall finishes? There are inspirations everywhere – just watch HGTV! White kitchen cabinets have been a trend for a few years, and it doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. Neutral colors for the walls and fabrics that we can punch up with pillows and throws in colors we like. Great tile or laminate flooring vs. carpet. Ugh! So hard to keep clean. And we’ll bring our own rugs.
What’s in it for you?
Gen Xers live in the digital age. We are active with our own blogs, social media and websites. We are opinionated and happy to give reviews (good or bad). Most of all, we are LOYAL. We tell everyone we know when we really love a brand and can be pretty influential. (Note: I also know a lot of traditionals who are also very active online, just nowhere near as many as Gen Xers!).
I’m not suggesting you stop selling and building for traditionals. But how about a model or two built with us in mind? Dealers – visit a car or boat dealership and see how they sell to us. They are doing a better job (sorry!) than you are selling to us Gen Xers.
Final note – I am sure not all Gen Xers are like us, and not all dealers are bad at selling to Gen Xers, but this has been our general experience so far. The Wynns posted a great video about this topic as well: Resurrecting Dinosaurs.
What do you think? We would love to hear your experience and thoughts on this!