Article From：SGB Media
Kampgrounds of America, Inc.’s (KOA) 2022 North American Camping Report* found that 57 million households reported going on at least one camping trip in 2021, an 18 percent increase compared to 2020 and the greatest year-over-year change since KOA began reporting the numbers.
The report found that the pandemic accelerated sustained interest in camping in the U.S. and Canada during the past two years, with millions of new and returning campers year over year. With over 9.1 million first-time campers in 2021, one-third said COVID-19 was the impetus to try camping. This growth resulted in earlier bookings for campsites, with about three-fourths (75 percent) having booked at least some of their campsites for 2022 by early April. In terms of camping behavior, 46 percent of campers worked remotely during some of their trips, up 41 percent in 2020, including 57 percent of Millennials.
Tracking eight years of continued growth and interest in camping and the pandemic fueling an increase in new campers, the 2022 survey found that camping has become a mainstream, widely adopted leisure travel option. Not only did 40 percent of leisure trips result in camping, but 80 percent of all leisure travelers choose camping or glamping for at least some of their trips, which points to the importance of camping in the travel and hospitality industry.
“Our research shows that camping is one of the primary ways households prefer to travel and spend their leisure time because 75 percent of campers said it reduces stress and contributes to their emotional well-being,” said Whitney Scott, chief marketing officer of KOA. “Camping is driving leisure travel’s recovery, and its benefits will fuel future market share.”
Since KOA first published its North American Camping Report in 2015, the number of camping households in the U.S. and Canada has increased by 77 percent. Although camping grew steadily from 2014 to 2019, the industry had a 31 percent increase in consumers camping at least once a year over five years and grew by 36 percent in the past two years (2019 to 2021). Among all North Americans polled for the 2022 study, nearly half (48 percent) participate in camping and other leisure travel forms, while about 1-in-20 households camp exclusively as the only form of leisure travel.
Glamping and RVing also grew in popularity. Nearly half of new campers in 2021 went glamping at least once and almost 15 million households went RVing at least once. While in the past, most RVers rented or borrowed RVs for vacation, 77 percent of RVers now own a camper. Similarly, interest in RV purchasing is high among non-RV owners, with 32 percent saying they want to purchase an RV in 2022.
Additional findings in the report include:
Rise Of The Urban Camper
In 2021, camping saw a rise in the number of urban residents as one of the most avid camping segments in both numbers of trips and the number of nights spent camping;
The urban camper prefers to camp in tents (66 percent), but if they RV, they are highly likely to be RV owners (82 percent);
Urban campers are looking for new experiences in 2022 from RVing (58 percent), backcountry camping (54 percent), taking a road trip (54 percent), Overlanding (51 percent), and glamping (50 percent);
Music festivals continue to be the most popular reason for the urban camper to get outside, with 44 percent camping to attend a music festival in 2021; and
In 2022, 44 percent of music festival-goers plan to replace a traditional leisure trip with a camping trip, citing current economic conditions and avoiding crowds as key drivers in their decision-making.
Remote Work Camping Is Here To Stay
Forty-six percent of campers said they work during at least some of their trips, up from 41 percent in 2020, including 57 percent of Millennials.
Close to half of campers rated having Wi-Fi as important (48 percent), impacting their ability to camp, extending their trips, and staying connected to work as needed.
RVing is at an all-time high, with 11 million RV owners camping last year and two million new RV renters in 2021; and
There is a marked increase in peer-to-peer RV services, with 7-in-10 non-RVers saying they are likely to rent from a peer-to-peer service, including 79 percent of Millennial respondents.
DEI In The Outdoors
New campers continue to be more diverse when compared to campers overall, with 54 percent of new campers identifying as non-white. About one out of three camper households include Hispanic, Black, Asian, or other non-white ethnicities;
A quarter of Black campers said they plan to take their first solo camping trip in 2022; and
The age demographic of campers continues to trend younger, with Millennials and Gen-Z making up 53 percent of campers; 7-in-10 new campers are 40 years or younger.
In 2021, it was estimated that campers spent about $44 billion in local communities during their trips;
About 7 million leisure traveler households will try camping in 2022;
It is forecasted that Overlanding will become a more popular camping vertical. In 2021, 27 percent of campers took an Overlanding trip for the first time, and 46 percent of all campers want to try Overlanding in 2022;
Glamping continues to grow, with 36 percent of campers taking a glamping trip for the first time in 2021. In 2022, 50 percent of campers will look for a glamping experience; and
Campers are booking in advance because of camping’s increased popularity. By April 2022, about three-fourths of campers had reserved their space at campsites for the year.
In 2021, KOA confirmed 26 new franchise locations. The company noted that future openings, including new campgrounds in Virginia, California, Alabama, Nebraska, Oregon, and Alberta, and a new corporate headquarters in Billings, MT, are planned, timed with its 60th Anniversary this year.
*KOA’s 2022 North American Camping Report is based on 4,145 surveys completed among a random sample of U.S. (n=2,945) and Canadian (n=1,200) households. To view the full report, go here.