Demographics, Economy Drive RV Sales Surge
The first quarter was kind to the recreational vehicle industry. Building on three years of continuous growth, the RV industry experienced an 11.2 percent gain in units shipped in the quarter compared to the first quarter in 2012. And that growth is expected to accelerate.
As reported by the Goshen News, the industry’s forecast issued earlier this year by Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan predicted a 7.5% gain in units shipped for 2013. That gain would mean 307,300 RVs would be sent by manufacturers to dealers. Such a gain would be a significant jump over the low year of 2009, when 165,700 units were shipped during the height of the recession. But a much larger gain would be needed to reach the record year of 2006 when 390,500 RVs went out the doors of local RV factories.
“Every year has been an up year since 2009 if you graph it out,” said Doug Gaeddert, Forrest River’s general manager and chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), which compiled the quarterly totals.
“One thing,” Gaeddert said of the reason for the continual gain, “is the economy is in much better shape than the media would lead you to believe.”
He said the bank industry has solved its credit crunch, which resulted in RV dealers being unable to finance inventory during the recession and consumers who wanted to buy RVs having to have the best of credit and lots of collateral.
Another factor in the resurgence of the industry is that more people in North America are reaching the ages where they want to travel and camp in RVs.
“The demographics are in the right place,” Gaeddert said. “So the sun and the moon and the stars are lined up real well.”
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