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RVs on target for record expansion of shipments

RVs on target for record expansion of shipments

RESTON, Va. — RV shipments totaled 105,579 in the second quarter of 2015, the highest level in any quarter since the second quarter of 2006, the RV Industry Association announced today.

The stellar performance was due to shipments of conventional travel trailers, which rose to 67,597 units in the second quarter, the highest shipment level of any quarter since 1973, RVIA noted, adding that there have been only two higher quarters recorded in nearly the past half century.

In addition, 6,311 Type C motorhomes were shipped in the 2nd quarter of 2015, the highest level of any quarter in the past 10 years, with only two higher quarters in the past quarter century.

RV shipments are expected to total 373,700 in 2015, a gain of 4.7 percent above 2014, reaching the highest level since 2006, RVIA explained. Growth will continue in 2016, with total shipments moving upward to 383,100, an anticipated gain of 2.5 percent.

“The current outlook reflects the impact of the stronger U.S. dollar on Canadian sales as well as other global economic risks,” said Dr. Richard Curtin, with the University of Michigan, who researches the RV market for the industry.

“The favorable RV outlook is based on modest gains in jobs, incomes and household wealth. Although small increases in interest rates are widely expected, when the first rate hike occurs it will signal a new era and mindset,” said Curtin. “In contrast to an earlier era, it is not expected to improve sales due to borrowing-in-advance of further rate hikes.”

An uptick in housing construction will boost jobs and incomes among those who have yet to fully benefit from the recovery, and the growth in sales of light trucks and low fuel prices will help boost RV sales, he added.

“Who could be surprised that a sense of unease has grown as RV shipments are now anticipated to post a record sixth consecutive year of expansion?” Curtin asked. “More surprising, who could have guessed that falling commodity prices, including oil, would be part of the problem facing the global economy?

“The underlying strength of the consumer sector is expected to propel RV sales forward, but that strength is not completely immune to these developments,” he explained. “While everyone welcomes lower prices, when falling prices cause jobs to disappear, people can also become more uncertain about their future income prospects.

“Consumers react to economic uncertainty by delaying discretionary purchases,” said Curtin. “While few can deny the uncertainty on the distant horizon, the risks to RV shipments in the year ahead are still quite minor, limited to a slight decline in the rate of growth. An important offset to these concerns is that the market is in the midst of the largest increase in potential buyers of new RVs. Baby boomers began turning 65 in 2011, and approximately 11,000 will celebrate that birthday every day until 2029.”

SOURCE: RV Industry Association bulletin

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About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is a freelance writer and podcaster who has been writing about the RV industry since 2000. He is the former editor of RV Daily Report.

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