There were a few RV industry news items released this week that should be of interest to every RVer.
First, the RV Industry Association announced that RV factory shipments set another new record in May, with 49,241 units leaving factories during the month. That’s almost 76% better than May 2020, which was the first month last year that factories were in full production after being shuttered during spring 2020 due to COVID-19.
The RV industry has set a new RV shipment record for each of the past seven months as RV manufacturers strive to maintain high production levels to replenish dwindling dealer inventories amid increasing consumer demand despite numerous kinks in the RV parts supply chain.
“More American consumers than ever before are rediscovering the great outdoors and the joy that comes from spending time with friends and family,” said RV Industry Association President and CEO Craig Kirby. “With RVing becoming more popular than ever, the RV industry has been committed to sustaining industry growth and meeting demand that shows no sign of slowing down.”
The continuing growth of consumer demand in new RVs is beginning to feel like an industry in free fall for campers struggling to compete for limited available sites in crowded campgrounds.
Winnebago says younger RVers entering the market
Winnebago CEO Mike Happe was interviewed on Fox Business this week. Happe said while RV owners under age 30 make up only about 10% of the current market, their share is climbing. Happe said the average age of an RV owner is now in the mid-40s.
Happe also said Winnebago – and likely many other manufacturers – are turning their attention to younger RV buyers interested in “off-grid” RVing and wilderness boondocking. Many younger RVers, in an effort to differentiate themselves from older RVers, are even adopting the term “overlanding” to describe their new outdoor lifestyle.
Winnebago, like most manufacturers, is struggling to keep up with back orders of its products. Thor Industries, the world’s largest RV manufacturer, recently admitted to a $14 billion backlog. Winnebago’s manufacturing backlog number now stands at $3.7 billion in already purchased RVs.
Happe told Fox Business that a hopeful RV purchaser would likely be waiting “weeks or even months” for any Winnebago model they were unable to find sitting on already thinned dealer lots.