Editor’s Note: Robert W. Baird & Co. issued a client newsletter following release of the wholesale RV shipments report by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Excerpts of the Baird newsletter follow.
March shipments up 17%. Total RV shipments increased 17% in March, as motorhome shipments increased 29%, while towable shipments increased 16%. Growth improved from February, as dealers continue to stock inventory through the beginning of the spring retail selling season. Dealer inventory remains in good shape and as replenishment rates stabilize, we expect shipment growth to closely track retail demand in 2011 – with gas prices the wild card.
Total RV shipment growth improves in March. Overall shipments grew 17% in March following flat shipments last month. Dealers tell us inventories are appropriate, having built normal seasonal inventory ahead of the stronger spring selling months. For the remainder of the year we expect wholesale shipments to track relatively in line with retail demand.
Motorhome shipments increased 29%. Class A shipments increased 17% while Class C shipments increased 44%. We continue to expect modest motorhome shipment growth into spring against difficult comps, with possible upside from better retail.
Towable shipments up 16%. Travel trailer shipments increased 18% while fifth-wheel shipments grew 12%. Year-to-date towable shipments are up 10%.
SAAR. We calculate a seasonally adjusted annual rate of shipments. The SAAR of motorhome shipments increased to 26.4K units in March, from 24.1K units in February — 23.6K units were shipped in 2010. The SAAR of towable shipments increased to 231.8K units in March, from 207.5K units in March — 199.2K units were shipped in 2010.
This summary of a Baird research report is not intended as investment advice. To participate in Baird surveys and receive research reports, contact Craig R. Kennison, CFA, at email@example.com.
Wholesale shipments to dealers of all RVs were reported at 19,800 units in February’s survey of manufacturers, down 1.5% from February 2010, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has reported.
Towable shipments totaled 17,700, down 2.2% from a year ago, while motorized shipments totaled 2,100, up 5% from a year ago.
For the first two months of 2011, shipments of all RVs were 37,600 units, a gain of 4.7% compared to the first two months last year. Towable shipments totaled 33,500, up 3.4% from the 2010 pace, while motorized shipments totaled 4,100, up 17.1%.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, all RV shipments in February this year were at an annualized rate of 227,600 units, up slightly from last month.
By segment, February shipments, followed by percentage change from February 2010, were as follows:
- Travel trailers, 11,800, off 1.7%.
- Fifth-wheels, 4,800, up 4.3%.
- Folding camping trailers, 1,000, down 16.7%.
- Truck campers, 100, down 66.7%.
- Class A motorhomes, 1,100, up 10%.
- Class B motorhomes, 200, flat.
- Class C motorhomes, 800, flat.
For the first two months of 2011, shipments, followed by percentage changes from 2010, were as follows:
- Travel trailers, 22,200, up 3.3%.
- Fifth-wheels, 9,100, up 12.3%.
- Folding camping trailers, 1,900, down 17.4%.
- Truck campers, 300, down 40%.
- Class A motorhomes, 2,200, up 15.8%.
- Class B motorhomes, 300, flat.
- Class C motorhomes, 1,600, up 23.1%.
Se chart below for complete data.
Editor’s Note: The following release, contained in the fall issue of Roadsigns, comes courtesy of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) based on research by Richard Curtin from the University of Michigan.
RV Shipments totaled 76,000 units in the second quarter of 2010, the largest year-to-year gain the past quarter century. The outsized increase followed record-setting declines due to the recession and credit freeze. The second quarter gains were shared by travel trailers and motorhomes, while folding camping trailers and truck campers posted more modest increases.
The rapid pace of increase will moderate during the year ahead. Total shipments are expected to reach 239,000 in 2010 and 259,600 in 2011. On a seasonally adjusted basis, RV shipments will slow in the second half of 2010 and then rebound by the end of 2011. It will take one year for the seasonally adjusted total to again equal the level recorded in the second quarter of 2010.
(As the towable RV market has improved, Curtin has repeatedly upgraded his 2010 year-end forecast each quarter from 169,500 units in mid-2009 up to 185,800, 203,500, 215,900 and 230,300 earlier this summer — a 39% gain over 2009’s total shipments of 165,700. The industry shipped 237,000 units in ‘08.)
RV sales face continued challenges from the slowdown in prospects for economic growth. Uncertainty about future taxes, depressed home values and tight credit conditions will restict motorhome sales, and lackluster income growth and high unemployment will limit gains in folding camping trailers and truck camper sales.
Conventional and fifth-wheel travel trailers are expected to maintain their 83% share of the RV market, while motorhomes will account for 10% of the total. The trailer share us up by 20 percentage points from a decade ago, half coming from folding camping trailers, a close substitute, and half from motorhome sales.
Downsizing Versus Rightsizing
The Great Recession has been followed by a recovery only an economist could recognize. Lackluster economic growth, falling wages and high unemployment do not signify a recovery to most people. Importantly, consumers have come to expect that dismal economic prospects will persist for years to come. These new constraints have caused consumers to reconsider their spending and saving habits. Postponement works well to bridge a brief recession, but a more thorough rightsizing of consumption is required when the slowdown is expected for an extended period. Given the strong underlying demand for the RV lifestyle, consumers will gravitate toward products that offer an equivalent experience at a price that meets their new budget constraints. Downsizing will not be as successful as rightsizing RVs. Rightsizing means delivering the optimal mix of size, convenience and features to meet the new constraints facing consumers. While the challenges in developing new products will be as great as the economic hurdles now facing the industry, rightsized RVs will reap the long-term payoff from consumers.