Winter Months Slow Early Canadian RV Sales
Editor’s Note: The following is a report from Eleonore Hamm, president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada, assessing Canadian RV sales for the first quarter of 2013.
Canadian RV unit sales and retail revenues are both down in the first months of 2013. Unit sales dropped from 2,053 to 1,863 in this period, down 9.3%. Given slow general growth and continued uncertainty concerning the pace and strength of the recovery, this result is not particularly surprising.
However, January and February remain two of the worst months of the year on which to base projections for results for the remaining 10 months: sales are always very slow this time of year and so sample sizes are small. We are just starting the annual spring selling season, which historically has always been much more important for final sales numbers than the wintry months that kick off each year.
All regions and provinces in the country have seen essentially the same contraction in demand this year.
Current Trends in the Canadian Economy
• Consistent with the slowdown in RV sales growth, overall economic growth in the final quarter of 2012 was relatively weak.
• March employment numbers were also weak and unemployment jumped from 7% to 7.2% with the loss of 55,000 jobs.
• Both core and headline inflation remain comfortably within the bank’s target of 1% to 3%.
• Figures for housing starts are highly volatile. However, housing transactions are slowing significantly in a number of key urban markets.
Overall, RV sales and other important indicators are facing stronger headwinds now than we saw for much of 2012. The relatively strong year we just came through may have stolen a few sales from this year through aggressive marketing and incentives. Also, it is possible that there is less pent-up demand in the market now that we’re several years removed from the recession.