The U.S. Recreational Transportation Sector Tells the Rest of the World to Go Out and Play!

August 1, 2012

John Vanderwolf is an industry economist for the Office of Health and Consumer Goods and has been covering recreational products for 25 years.

There is no doubt that Americans love to recreate and travel.  U.S. manufacturers have responded and built fun, recreational products like motorcycles, pleasure boats, RVs, All-terrain Vehicles (ATVs), and other fun transportation to make us happy. Well, over the last 20 years foreign markets have begun to experience this fun transportation.  Servicing the U.S. market has given this industry an economies-of-scale advantage that negates the high cost of transportation. As a result in 2011, the U.S. recreational transportation sector enjoys a significant trade surplus of $1 billion which is 13 percent of total sector exports of $7.6 billion. Work hard, Play hard

The theme of “Work Hard, Play Hard” is being exported all over the world, selling to over 125 countries.  The Top 10 destinations for U.S. recreational transportation products are Canada, Belgium, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Germany, China, Brazil, Italy, and the United Kingdom.  U.S. exports of these products have increased 13 percent annually since 2009 and are estimated to exceed $8 billion in 2012.

That’s a lot of hard work that deserves more hard play.


  1. RVs are an amazing concept. They have everything from the basic stuff to stuff that you wouldn’t even think of on having in your car. An article I read at http://www.unocardealers.com/blog/rvs-or-can-i-live-in-my-car/ said that the battery can even be used creatively for cooking and lighting. There are so many options you can experiment with!

  2. There could be many reasons for the increase in recreational transportation amongst people outside of the USA, only that it is not very surprising. If anything, it is surprising that the enthusiasm for recreational transportation didn’t spread to other places sooner than it actually did.

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