EDITOR’S NOTE: The President of the RV Industry Association (RVIA), Craig Kirby, addressed members of the association on Friday with the message below. It’s great news for members of the association, who are in the business of manufacturing and selling RVs. But for current RVers, this is far from good news. With so many new RVers hitting the road, you wonder where they all will stay. As you will read below, that subject is not even mentioned.
I urge you to read RV Travel’s latest installment of our weekly column on campground crowding.
Now, the message from Craig Kirby
It is hard to believe it is already March, and that for many of us, Spring is fast approaching as is the beginning of what would traditionally be the kick-off to the RV selling season. But something strange happened for the RV industry during the pandemic — the emergence of the constant selling season. Despite the struggles the pandemic created, RVs provided an escape to so many people, and allowed them to recreate responsibly and enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle.
Looking ahead, I feel strongly this resurgence of interest in being outdoors will outlast the pandemic and provide a long-term, positive impact on our collective health and well-being. The outlook for the RV industry remains incredibly bright.
Earlier this week, the RV Industry Association issued the Spring RV RoadSigns, a quarterly market forecast prepared by ITR Economics. Our projection shows total 2021 RV shipments ranging between 523,139 and 543,572 units with the most likely year-end total being 533,356 units. That total would represent a 23.9% increase over the 2020 year-end total of 430,412 units. It would also be a 5.7% gain over the current comparable record high of 504,600 units in 2017. These numbers are astonishing when you think that not even a year ago RV production was halted for nearly two months.
Also, this week, we convened a meeting of the RV Industry Task Force, a group of OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), suppliers, aftermarket members, finance companies, dealers, campgrounds, finance companies and related trade associations that was formed at the outset of the pandemic. The optimism across that group was universal, with everyone expecting 2021 to be another banner year for the industry.
The group was also in agreement around the importance of continuing our collaborative work on improving repair event cycle time (RECT), and we are going to redouble our efforts this year around this important initiative. You will be hearing more from the RV Industry Association on this in the coming weeks.
Next week, Go RVing will be rolling out the findings from a comprehensive demographic profile of current RV owners, former RV owners and RV intenders. The study was led by research giant Ipsos and is the largest consumer segmentation study we have ever conducted. A quick spoiler, the data shows that RV purchase intent is strongest among millennials, followed closely by Gen X and Gen Z. The findings bode very well for the future of the RV industry, as well as the wider outdoor recreation industry.
While many consumers discovered RVs for the first time this past year, the truth is the RV industry has been experiencing more than 40 years of long-term growth. For our growth to continue, we must ensure that consumers have the enjoyable experience they expect and deserve. As I stated several times before – we have an incredible opportunity in front of us. And that opportunity is the millions of new people looking to get outdoors, and how we can all work together to make RVs the preferred form of outdoor enjoyment for millions of consumers for decades to come.