The popularity of recreational vehicles grew significantly in 2013, leading RV dealers to look hopefully toward the new year, according to survey results released by GE Capital’s Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) business.
According to a press releas, one-third of survey respondents said they expect sales to rise 10% to 15% next year, and an additional 37% expect RV sales to grow 5% to 10%. No respondents expect declining sales in 2014.
“The overall mood of the industry is upbeat,” said Tim Hyland, president of CDF’s RV group. “Industry shipments are up nearly 13% this year and retail registrations are keeping pace. Sales of towable units have nearly recovered to pre-crisis levels and motorized units are improving nicely. CDF’s increase in wholesale financing volume year-over-year is consistent with these trends as well.”
Respondents predicted that consumers will continue to favor travel trailers (50%), followed by motorhomes (31%) and fifth-wheel trailers (17%). This shows more variety in demand from last year, when travel trailers were predicted by 70% to be consumers’ first choice.
“Sales of motorized units continue to grow as the economy improves,” said Hyland. “This is very encouraging for the industry as consumers are investing in units with higher price points and re-committing to the RV lifestyle.”
The most common business concern in the RV industry is consumer demand, cited by 27% of respondents. The next concern is the availability/stability of retail finance options, selected by 19%.
The RV industry survey of 130 respondents was conducted Dec. 3-5 during the annual Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky. Two-thirds of the respondents were dealers and 26% were manufacturers.