Recreational vehicles are hitting the roads at a pace never seen before as the COVID-19 pandemic has driven more Americans to explore the country. 

Total RV shipments in March rose 79% from a year ago to 54,291 units, according to data released by the RV Industry Association. They reached a quarterly record of 148,507 units during the first three months of the year.

Many Americans have "discovered for the first time that an RV is the perfect way to get the most out of the great outdoors," said Craig Kirby, president and CEO of the RV Industry Association. 

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A recent survey conducted by GO RVing found that RV ownership has grown 26% over the past 10 years to 11.2 million households. Almost a quarter of owners are under the age of 35 and 84% of those younger owners are planning to purchase a new RV within the next five years. 

There is evidence that younger buyers are still showing up in full force despite more Americans receiving COVID-19 vaccines and people returning to their pre-pandemic way of life. 

As of March 24, there were "no real high alarm bells" from dealers about a dilution of first-time buyers, said Michael Happe, CEO of Winnebago Industries Inc. He added that more families also are shopping for RVs. 

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Winnebago reported robust consumer demand caused quarterly sales to surge 34% year over year to a record $839.9 million. Diluted earnings per share hit a record $2.04, up 300% from the prior year. 

The company expects demand to remain strong as its order backlog surged 307% from a year ago to 39,855 units

Ticker Security Last Change Change % WGO WINNEBAGO INDUSTRIES 82.16 -0.86 -1.04%THO THOR INDUSTRIES 142.72 -3.03 -2.08%

Industry leader Thor Industries Inc. is scheduled to announce its fiscal third-quarter results on June 8. 

Winnebago shares had risen 39% this year through Tuesday while Thor Industries shares had gained 57%. The S&P 500 was up 11%. 

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https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/rv-sales-hit-record-pandemic-explore-great-outdoors

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