New U.S. timeshare owners are younger, have higher incomes than current owners and represent a more culturally diverse cross-section of households.
According to the newly released Shared Vacation Ownership Study from the ARDA International Foundation (AIF), the timeshare industry has returned to growth mode. In part this is due to the influx of a new type of owner — one that will help to continue the trajectory of the industry.
AIF says these new owners are younger, have higher incomes than current owners and represent a more culturally diverse cross-section of U.S. households.
“We’re excited not only about the fact that sales are up in our industry but also about why they are up,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA.
“While existing owners continue to enjoy the lifestyle and purchase more timeshare, it’s the new owners who are responsible for the majority of qualified new sales.”
The study reports that the profile of new owners has changed. They are nearly ten years younger than typical timeshare owners. Thirty-nine per cent are ‘Gen Xers’ and thirty per cent are millennials, with the median age of thirty-nine.
Forty-two per cent are African American or Hispanic. They are also highly educated, with seventy-two per cent being college graduates and twenty-three per cent of these having graduate degrees.
Their median household income is $94,800 and they have plenty of disposable income — forty-seven per cent of new owners made just a single payment to cover their purchase and fifty-seven per cent spent $10,000 or more on their timeshare.
In terms of financial commitment, the new timeshare owner values the long-term vacation savings and flexibility timeshare provides: thirty-six per cent purchased timeshare to save money on future vacations and thirty-one per cent bought for the flexibility the product offers.
The new owners are also savvy consumers, with seventy-five per cent having had some form of interaction with a timeshare resort before purchasing.
Forty-four per cent initially stayed at the resort where they bought as a guest of another owner and forty-two per cent experienced timeshare vacations through renting first. Thirty-five per cent attended multiple sales presentations before buying.
Overall ownership has increased: U.S. households that own a timeshare rose from 7.2 per cent in 2012 to 7.9 per cent today, with the purchase price having risen to an average of nearly $20,000.
Among overall timeshare owners, timeshare vacations are fairly evenly spread between summer, autumn and spring and forty per cent are as likely to travel under 500 miles as they are to travel 1,000 miles or more (43 per cent).
Seventy-five per cent of owners vacationed at a timeshare resort while sixteen per cent converted their timeshare to a different type of vacation or vacation-related purchase (cruises, airline tickets, car rentals, hotel stays and so on).