Editor’s Note: The following is a story authored by Jeff Kurowski, director of industry relations for the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), detailing a recent survey of dealers that appears in the December issue of RV Executive Today.
A high percentage of dealers believe 2012 turned out to be better than 2011, and nearly half of those surveyed by RVDA in November believe 2013 will be better than 2012.
The survey was conducted a few days after the presidential election and showed that a little more than 47% of the dealers who responded believe the RV retail market will be better in 2013 than it was in 2012, while 44% believe it will be about the same. Only 9% of respondents feel the 2013 market will be worse.
Meanwhile, two-thirds of the survey respondents said they believe the market was better in 2012 than it was in 2011, and 29% said it was about the same. Only 3% said the 2012 market was worse than the 2011 market.
Strength lies in towable segment
The towable segment has a much rosier outlook for 2013 than the motorhome segment, according to the survey respondents. Almost 61% believe the towable market will be better in 2013 than in 2012, while one-third say it will be about the same. Only 6% expect it to be worse.
Twenty-five percent say the motorhome market will be better in 2013, 62.5% believe it will be about the same, and 12.5% think it will be worse.
The upbeat forecast for towables in 2013 follows a strong 2012. Almost 73% of respondents said their towable sales were better in 2012 than in 2011, while 24% said they were about the same, and only 3% said they were worse.
With motorhomes, almost 26% said they believed their sales were better in 2012 than in 2011, while 52% said they were about the same, and 23% said they were worse.
Inventory levels a possible concern
A possible area of concern is dealer inventory levels, with 41% of respondents saying their inventories are too high given the market conditions as of November. Fifty-nine percent said they’re just right. No respondents said their inventory levels are too low.
The availability of financing became less of a concern among dealers as 2012 progressed, and that continued to be true in November. A little more than 88% of those responding believe the right amount of credit is available for inventory financing, while 76.5% believe the right amount of retail financing is available for their customers.