Demographic Trends: the Revenge of Retired Baby Boomers
Rodney Johnson | Thursday, September 6, 2012 >>
We have two offices in Florida. One in Delray Beach and one in Tampa. So, from time to time I drive along the Interstate that runs from Tampa, through Orlando, to the East Coast.
One of the sights along the way is the Airstream Ranch in Dover, which consists of seven Airstream travel-trailers planted vertically in the ground. (Yes, this is real… just Google “Airstream Ranch” to find a picture.)
Now, I must admit, I have an affinity for the shiny Airstreams because those torpedo-shaped travel-trailers bring back memories from my youth. But the industry in general – travel-trailers and more importantly RVs – represents something else altogether.
I call it the revenge of the retired.
Think about RVs, those colossal vehicles that seem like mobile homes with engines. People well into their retirement years are driving these vehicles around with nothing more than a standard issue driver’s license.
If you drive up to an RV lot in a two-door hatchback with enough credit or cash, you can drive out in a vehicle that is probably bigger than the house you grew up in.
What makes most RV drivers qualified to make such a leap? Absolutely nothing. And now the roads are about to fill up with these behemoths, with their aging owners behind the wheel…
Seven years ago, in a different publication, I wrote about the rise of the RV and travel-trailer industry based on demographic trends in the U.S.
While the bulk of Baby Boomers are now firmly in their saving years, the leading edge of the generation is already retiring. As time goes on, the trickle of retirees will become a flood, which will in turn fuel all things retirement-related.
While it might seem out of step with the mainstream media push toward fuel efficiency and conservation, the sale of large RVs (that have little regard for fuel efficiency) is already on the rise.
$4 gas? Who cares?
Diesel higher than gas? Doesn’t matter.
There are sites to see, grandchildren to visit and little granola-eating, yoga-doing soccer moms in Toyota Priuses and Nissan Leafs to run off the road!
As Boomers force their way through the gates of retirement they will explode this market, just like they did for Harleys in the ’90s and 2000s (if you missed our video series on Harley Davidson, you’ll find it here ). This explosion will bring with it a demand for ancillary or support products and services.
Not coincidentally, down the road from the Airstream Ranch on I-4 is Lazy-Days, an RV park, repair center, hotel and spa where RV’ers can get their home-on-wheels serviced while they relax in comfort and style.
Seeing the opportunity ahead, Wal-Mart announced a plan, years ago, to let RVs park in their parking lots overnight, because they provide a secure, well-lit parking place and a chance to sell supplies.
The point is that even though our nation is aging, it doesn’t mean all areas slow down. Some industries will see a tremendous increase. The key is to see the changes coming before they happen so that you can take advantage of the opportunity. Or, as in the case of RVs on the road, you can get out of the way as fast as possible!
P.S. The Baby Boomers’ move into retirement will have massive consequences for our economy. Harry recorded a video that gives details of what you can expect as 64 million Americans go from the workforce to the welfare line.
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