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Towables Retail up 5.4% in ‘03

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February 24, 2004 by   Leave a Comment

Retail sales of travel trailers, fifth-wheels, folding campers and park models, when combined, increased 5.4% in 2003 compared with 2002, Statistical Surveys Inc. reported today (Feb. 24).
However, the data collected for December by Statistical Surveys, an independent market research firm, showed a sharp decline in retail sales, but President Tom Walworth believes many states overstated their December 2002 figures.
Many states included retail sales that occurred in October and November of 2002 in their December 2002 numbers, according to Walworth. Consequently, the December 2003 retail sales figures, appear worse than they actually were, he surmises.
A better basis for comparison would be December 2003 retail sales figures versus the average retail sales numbers for towable RVs occurring each December from 1999 through December 2001, Walworth said. Using that basis, retail sales of travel trailers, fifth-wheels, folding campers and park models increased 3.8% in December to 8,014 units, compared with an average of 7,723 units sold each December from 1999 through 2001.
Using the same basis for comparison, here is how the other categories fared in December:
• Travel-trailer and fifth-wheel sales increased 9.3% in December to 7,320 units, compared with the average of 6,699 for the month of December from 1999 through 2001.
• Travel-trailer sales increased 10.3% in December to 4,223 units, compared with the average of 3,824 December in 1999 through 2001.
• Fifth-wheel sales increased 7.7% in December to 3,097 units, compared with the average of 2,875 the same month in 1999 through 2001.
• Folding camper sales plunged 40.5% in December to 421 units, compared with the average of 708 in December of 1999 through 2001.
• Park model sales fell 13.6% in December to 273 units, compared with an average of 316 in December of 1999 through 2001.
Here are the full-year 2003 comparisons versus 2002:
• Travel-trailer, fifth-wheel, folding-camper and park model retail sales increased 5.4% last year to 232,828 units, compared with 220,916 units sold by dealers in 2002.
• Travel-trailer and fifth-wheel sales increased 9.9% to 196,900 units, compared with 179,095.
• Travel-trailer sales increased 8.7% to 128,892 units, compared with 118,579.
• Fifth-wheel sales increased 12.4% to 68,008, compared with 60,516.
• Folding-camper sales declined 15.7% to 30,767 units, compared with 36,514.
• Park model sales slipped 2.8% to 5,161 units in 2003, compared with 5,307.
The Statistical Surveys figures came from all states except New Hampshire and Hawaii.

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