Curtin: Shipments up 8.4% For 2013, 4% in ’14

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June 3, 2013 by   Leave a Comment

Richard Curtin

RV industry analyst Richard Curtin revised upward his forecast for the recreational vehicle industry’s wholesale shipments in 2013 to 309,800 units, representing an 8.4% increase from the 2012 total of 285,749.

Presented during the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Joint Committee Luncheon today (June 3), Curtin also stated that RV shipments are expected to rise for a fifth straight year in 2014 with wholesale production expected to reach 321,800 units, a gain of 3.9% over the projected 2013 total.

According to a press release, the estimated total for 2013 would be an 87% increase from the industry’s recession low in 2009. Fueled by strong consumer response to the versatility, affordability and innovative designs of new models, RV shipments through the first four months of 2013 shot up 13.3% compared to the same period in 2012. The industry has seen double-digit gains in conventional travel trailers, Class A motorhomes and Class C motorhomes.

“The favorable RV outlook is based on modest gains in jobs, incomes and household wealth,” said Curtin, director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, during his presentation to RVIA members at the association’s annual Committee Week.  “Consumer budgets have changed, but they still hold steadfast preferences for the RV lifestyle.”

Consumers have adopted a more realistic economic outlook, Curtin told the Committee Week audience. Manufacturers have responded by introducing an array of new products that will provide “the same cherished RV experiences while respecting their new budget limitations.”

“The RV industry will approach its next peak as the market demand for RVs continues to improve, particularly among Baby Boomers and younger buyers due to the ongoing efforts of the Go RVing campaign and the new product offerings from manufacturers,” Curtin said. “Given the modest gains expected in the financial situation of likely RV buyers, this next market peak is likely to be approached gradually.”

The RV market is expected to be bolstered over the next two years with rising home values and higher stock prices boosting the willingness and ability of new RV buyers.

“The strong appeal of the RV lifestyle underscores the iconic status of the RV in the minds of American consumers,” Curtin said. “This reflects deeply held family values, the enduring appeal of the natural environment, and people’s desire to instill in the next generation their cherished traditions.”

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