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How Millennials are changing the RV Landscape during COVID

March 22nd, 2021 by ryans

BABY BOOMERS VS MILLENNIALS

Historically, baby boomers have been the primary group affiliated with RVs. More recently, we’ve seen the industry shift sharply towards a younger demographic, more specifically— Millennials. Millennials, as we have all heard think about life, careers, and family a lot differently than the post-war Boomers. They are more diverse and have split from the older generation on issues such as immigration reform, criminal justice reform and environmental protection. Perhaps the biggest split is the recent fascination with “Van Life” or “Living on the Road” and they are rapidly becoming the largest demographic of full-time RVers. The number of people that consider RVs as their primary home are growing quickly with the ability to travel, work, and live on the go while pulling your home with you to places of interest, beauty, and adventure is a big draw for many millennials searching for freedom.

MILLENNIALS AND TECHNOLOGY

Millennials are known for their digital savviness and ability to use technology to stay connected 24/7, especially with the continued functional increases of cell phones. Social media, Teams/Zoom, the Cloud and file sharing are all tools used by Millennials for work, family, and social connections. All of this connectivity allows for work to happen anywhere and anytime, providing the freedom to make work fit around life v life fitting around work.

TRADING IN TRADITIONAL HOMES FOR RVS

Whether Covid was a motivator or the last straw, it certainly spurred a migration to outdoor/RV living. Ditching the stick and brick house for a travel trailer may sound very appealing to the Millennial but there are hurdles to get over. The first hurdle might be the Baby Boomer parents. Having worked hard for their whole life to buy a house, raise a family, and now buy their Class A to hit the road for retirement, boomers are struggling with the notion of their kids not following these traditional life goals. Millennials are either skipping home ownership entirely or are selling their starter homes and using the equity to fund RV living and many are hitting the road with their kids in tow. Although, kids may present the second challenge, many people feel home school, or trailer school in this case, is a great alternative to online school or dealing with the mask debate. Juggling space for kids’ lessons along with space for a work zoom call, and don’t forget a pet, all within a tight interior of an RV presents challenge number three. On the upside, heading to the warmer states makes the great outdoors a wide-open learning environment where life, nature, and science lessons are plentiful for the whole family.

A DIFFERENT DREAM

As with many things, Millennials are setting their own path and defining what is the right way for them to follow their dreams. Millennials are reported by several media outlets such as USA Today, The New York Post and Bloomberg to show the highest increase of RV ownership in the past three years. So, move over Baby Boomers and make way in the national parks, camp grounds, boondocks, and back roads cause the Millennials have a new thought on the American Dream.

QUICK NOTES:

  • U.S. Census Bureau reports that Millennials now outnumber the former largest population group – the Baby Boomers, plus they are not only the largest population group they are the largest group of campers, according to the Camping Report.
  • You don’t have to buy new – you can renovate! There are lots of deals on used motorhomes and trailers – you just have to have a good understanding of your needs. Such as, is an exterior shower important? Yes, it is great for the pets, kids, and muddy trail shoes. Should you replace the old overhead lights with newer LEDS? Also a yes – you will appreciate the energy savings and the consistent light color with new LEDS.
  • ITC Incorporated has been a trusted supplier to the RV and Marine manufacturers, plus 6 other industries for nearly 40 years. We support RVers and Boaters with our replacement and upgrade parts available at ITCShopNow.com.


ITC President Mike Camarota’s Review of 2020

March 2nd, 2021 by ryans

The last twelve months has been a very strange year that will be remembered for a long time. The last twelve months seem like 36 months. So much has changed; so much has happened. It is almost hard to remember what it was like in January of 2020. Do you remember the Australian wildfires? It was considered the biggest international event of 2020 at the time; now it is a footnote.

COVID changed everything.  First, it attacked China and we watched in awe and fear as the government shut down cities and provinces.  We sympathized with the sick and mourned with families that lost loved ones.  We believed at first that the virus could be contained to region, but we were so wrong.  COVID expanded beyond Wuhan and millions of people were put in lockdown throughout China.

The lockdowns were not enough to stop the spread.  Next, COVID hit Europe and then many other countries including the United States.  Each of us will remember forever where we were when the world stopped or at least slowed down a lot!  Dominoes fell one by one!  Sports, restaurants, events, weddings, businesses, states and countries all underwent some form of lockdown.  New words entered our vocabularies like social distancing,  quarantine and virtual.  Misinformation or at least lack of information ran rampant. Some countries like China recovered more quickly but others like the United States limped through all of 2020 with staggering death and hospitalization rates.

Still, as we return from Chinese New Year there is hope.  Death and hospitalization rates have dropped significantly in the past month in the United States and few cases in China are reported.  Vaccinations are starting to roll out even if they are slower than desired.  We can start to envision a life beyond the tightest grips of COVID, not completely free of it, but at least not as fully constrained by it.

One major disruption caused by COVID lingers and that is our ability to connect with friends and family! Please look to your right and to your left.  These are your ITC friends and family.  These are the people that have helped you and us weather the tumultuous events of 2020.

Our business over the past year was filled with rush, stop, slow, surge, delays, overtime, pressure, and anxiety!  Lots of anxiety!  We went from nearly zero shipments in February 2020 to 19 containers in January and the first week of February 2021.  As the demand for our products surged, we expanded our China labor force by over 100 people. Today, we have over 360 members in the ITC family with more than 250 in China. Through diligence and commitment by the people in this room, we were able to produce a record amount of product during the last half of 2020.  Further, we were able to make this product with shorter lead times and at the lowest warranty record in our history.

Our vendors were also instrumental in this production success story.  They invested in material and people resources to meet the surge in demand.  Even though the surge was not forecasted and every forecast we provided seemed too low, the vendors stuck with us and did everything they could to improve their processes to meet the quality and on-time requirements.  We could not have done it without them.

What’s next, I don’t know! The current ITC outlook is very good.  Demand in the Marine and RV market is very strong as many Americans are looking for family social distant activities.  Most companies in these industries have orders extending out until November 2021.  Besides office furniture, our other markets are also growing nicely.  We expect 2021 to be our strongest revenue year yet.  However, 2020 has taught us one lasting lesson.  We do not know what will happen next.  We need to prepare each day and be ready to adjust.  I am just glad to figure it out with team that is resilient as you!

I do not know why it is or whether it should really be so, but I find that the holiday season in the USA and have been told the same is true for Chinese New Year, generates a certain attitude among people. Regardless of religion, culture or country, people are just a little kinder to one another and recognize more often the good in our neighbors, friends and co-workers.  We also fondly remember those far away and who have been lost and there certainly has been a lot of loss this year.  At the end of last Chinese New Year all we could see ahead of us was more loss in the form of life or business interruption. This abundance of loss and fear is why this Chinese New Year celebration is especially important. We both need and deserve to feel special after a year of so much anxiety.

We have responded admirably to adversity and I am proud of our team of employees and vendors. Additionally, I am inspired by a phrase uttered by recovered COVID patient in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA who said about his nurse who was the sole person with him on the pivotal night that he nearly died, “To the World we are just one person, but to one person we can be the world!”

Please remember that what you say, do and act matters in far reaching ways! Each of us can be the world to those around us!  It takes just one interaction! My family is blessed to share time with you. I very much look forward to the time when I can return to China and share a meal with you.  I miss you all. May you be blessed and may you be a blessing to others.


Rachel Perales, ITC Customer Care Receives Honor from Newmar

November 13th, 2020 by ryans

Rachel Perales was presented the 2020 Customer Service Award from Newmar. Newmar is one of ITC’s largest RV customers and has been using ITC’s products in their RV’s for over 20 years.  The award, presented via video last week, was a big surprise for Rachel.

Rachel has spent her career as a customer service professional and has been an integral part of the ITC Customer Care team for the past seven years.  She feels this prestigious award should be shared with the whole company, including those she works closely with each day; purchasing, sales, production, and her Customer Care teammates.

Thank you Rachel for representing ITC with such great Customer Care!

Read the RV Business article recognizing Rachel for her outstanding dedication to Customer Care.