The recession wasn’t much fun for leisure companies serving cash-starved consumers. According to AOL Money, companies like RV manufacturer Thor Industries Inc. had to make do with more than a 50% drop in demand in 2009. The combination of near-retirees working longer and existing retirees ratcheting belts knocked industrywide RV shipments from a peak of 385,000 RVs in 2005 to just 165,000 in 2009.
Lucky for Thor, retirees are feeling more financially fit thanks to a 176% increase in the stock market since March, 2009. As a result of rising confidence, the appetite for the home-away-from-home industry is marching back. July marked the 19th straight month of year-over-year growth for industry RV shipments, with 15% more RV’s being shipped from makers to dealers than a year ago.
July’s improvement brought year-to-date shipments to 201,000 units, up 13% versus 2012. And, that has industry watchers estimating total shipments will eclipse 300,000 this year for the first time since 2007.
So far, this year, the priciest are the best sellers. Sales of motorhomes, which cost more than towables, have climbed 35% year to date through July. Sales of Class A motorhomes, like those sold by Thor’s Motor Coach brand — the largest brand of Class A RVs with 21.9% market share — are up 30% this year.
The more cost conscious towable RVs are selling more quickly too, growing 13.1% to 201,000 units.
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