Economic prospects for RV industry dimming

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The economic health of the RV industry is being viewed more pessimistically in recent months. Stock prospects of big manufacturers and retailer Camping World looked dimmer yesterday (Sept. 3) after Bank of America Merrill Lynch issued a dour assessment of the industry’s prospects after months of decline.

“We lower our RV industry volume on continued sluggishness and the likelihood that demand was inflated over the past 4 years,” reads the BAML sector summary. The firm has lowered its 2020 wholesale shipment forecast to 379K units from 447K units. The retail forecast is clipped to 406K units from 467K units.

Economic prospects for RV industry dimmingIt does not think highly of the highly-touted Millennial market. “We believe Millennials are more likely to buy used RVs or even rent RVs rather than owning, given the big-ticket, 100% discretionary nature of the purchase and a greater degree of comfort with the sharing economy,” it warned.

BAML drops its price target on Camping World to $7 from $10 and Thor Industries to $47 from $58. Shares of Camping World are down almost 39% since January, and have fallen around 63% in the past one-year period according to Zacks Investment Research.

Camping World issued a press release yesterday saying that it plans to strategically shift away from locations where it does not have the ability or where it’s not feasible to sell and/or service RVs. Its current plan is to either sell, repurpose, relocate or close approximately 27 to 37 locations, presumably including many of its Gander Outdoors stores, which sell outdoor products but not RVs.

Camping World is currently opening new RV sales locations. It most recently acquired Richards RV Center in Quincy, Mich., and Diamond RV Center in West Hatfield, Mass.

SOURCE: Camping World press release, Zacks and Seeking Alpha.

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Charles Wehland

The downturn in RV sales are representative of the entire industry and not only the oft-mentioned retailer–Camping World. I’ve had experiences with several RV dealers–both big and small, and have seen the same selling tactics employed by all of them; exactly the same tactics that are commonplace at automobile dealerships and which are taken for granted by everyone over the age of 18. Unnamed small RV dealers and other unnamed very large RV dealers also do not get a free ride from me either. I understand that the bigger you are, the more arrows you get similar to those cast… Read more »

J Cherry

Maybe sales have dropped because of the terrible quality coming off the line and/or people are smarter with their money and NOT going into debt for an RV.

William Guy

Poor quality and bad customer service will destroy this industry. When first time buyers feel cheated after shelling out a huge wad of money they will not return for a second dose and will leave the lifestyle. The biggest sellers have concentrated on the “one time skin the buyer” and have not realized that repeat business is where the long time profit is. How many older RVers do you know that are on their third or more rig? The new buyers that have been ripped off won’t be back for a repeat. The hobby is expensive enough without having your… Read more »

Captn John

That is good news for those that have been camping or traveling by RV for a long time .

Jim Lakatos

I agree, the market flood of rv’s is driving up camping prices and crowding rv parks making it more difficult and more stressful finding a decent low cost rv stop without planning a year in advance, We are full timer wanderers and get to rv parks filled with permanent settlers and super inflated prices if a spot is open,