There seems to be no end to American’s new appetite for RV travel. RVs are flying off RV dealers’ sales lots faster than they can replace them. Until just recently, most of the sales were to first-time buyers, with no trade-ins. Dealers report that is changing slightly as some older RVers “age out” of the market.
The RV Industry Association’s August 2020 survey of manufacturers found that total RV shipments ended the month with 39,489 units, an increase of 17.3% from the 33,674 units shipped in August 2019.
Towable RVs, led by conventional travel trailers, totaled 35,561 units for the month, an increase of 20.8% compared to last August’s total of 29,448 units. Motorhomes finished the month with 3,928 units, down (-7.1%) compared to the August 2019 total of 4,226 units.
For the year, shipments stand at 258,591 units, off just 7.1% as the RV industry continues to overcome the nearly two-month shutdown this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SEE AUGUST SALES CHART BELOW.
NO SLOWDOWN IN SIGHT
RV shipments are expected to surpass 400,000 wholesale units by the end of 2020 and see continued growth in 2021 to more than 500,000 units, according to the Fall 2020 RV RoadSigns prepared by ITR Economics for the RV Industry Association.
The new projection sees total shipments ranging between 414,200 and 434,500 units with the most likely 2020 year-end total being 424,400 units. That total would represent a 4.5 percent gain over the 406,070 units shipped in 2019, overcoming a nearly two-month RV industry shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Initial estimates for 2021 have a range of 494,400 to 519,900 units with a most likely outcome of 507,200 units, a 19.5 percent increase over 2020.
The 507,200 units projected for 2021 would represent the best annual total on measurable record for the RV industry, eclipsing the 504,600 units shipped in 2017. The projected 424,400 units in 2020 would be the fourth best annual total on record.
Towable RV shipments are anticipated to reach 383,900 units in 2020 and 452,500 units in 2021. Motorhome shipments are projected to finish at 40,500 units in 2020 and 54,700 units in 2021.
“The RV industry has experienced strong consumer growth over the past 10 years, but the recent soar in consumer interest in RVing driven by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a marked increase in RV shipments to meet the incredibly strong order activity at the retail level,” said RV Industry Association President Craig Kirby. “This new forecast confirms what we have been seeing across the country as people turn to RVs as a way to have the freedom to travel and experience an active outdoor lifestyle while also controlling their environment.”
CHART COURTESY OF RVIA