After shares of Thor Industries surged over 13 percent on Tuesday off a strong earnings report, President and CEO Bob Martin broke down the recreational vehicle maker’s forward drivers for CNBC.
“It’s the change of lifestyle, it’s a younger demographic, it’s an industry that’s really reaching this younger buyer,” Martin told “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer. “We’re probably still ahead of the millennials, but Gen X, Gen Y, and we’re starting to talk to the millennials.”
Consumers are increasingly gravitating towards RVs — many of which now boast amenities like large refrigerators, televisions and Wi-Fi — as ways to live life, not just camp, Martin said.
“It’s this change of lifestyle that you can use an RV to not just go to a campground, but go to a kid’s game for baseball, soccer, lacrosse, concerts,” the CEO said. “It’s a lifestyle piece.”
But camping still remains an important driver to the RV industry. Executives like Martin see tent camping and RV renting as “gateways” to owning RVs.
A study sponsored by the Kampgrounds of America, the world’s largest operator of privately held campgrounds, showed that 61 percent of U.S. households, or roughly 75 million, “now include someone who camps.”
“Those people are potentially our next buyers,” Martin said. “They hit about 30 and they get tired of sleeping on the ground and … they want a bed, they want air conditioning, they want something comfortable.”
To Martin, renting RVs represents a more affordable way to break into the lifestyle, particularly since consumers who try “RVing” tend to do it again.
As personalization becomes increasingly important to consumers, especially those who travel, RVs come into the fold as a formidable solution, the CEO said.
“If they like it, they may buy an RV because you have your own linens, you have all your own food, you have your own comfortable pillow, your own fan, just your things that are always in your RV,” Martin told Cramer. “So many of the rental sites, I think, are great gateways for us to capture a customer in the years to come.”