The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Tue Jul 26, 2016
The RV industry in New England has been skyrocketing over the last several months, with travel trailers, fifth wheels and the general towable segment receiving the bulk of the increase.
However, some in the region are looking at the spike in sales and the overall health of the industry as a possible harbinger for some less-than-ideal times ahead.
Scott Silva at Cold Springs RV in Weare, New Hampshire says business for him is up over 40 percent from last year in nearly every sector of the sales. But he doesn’t have anything to point to as the ideal situation that has caused so much explosion in the industry.
“If I knew the answer to that, it would be great,” Silva says. “With the exception of a few sectors, everything is selling. Campers are definitely down from last year. But travel trailers, hybrids, that kind of stuff is just flying. I think that fuel prices in New England and a lack of a winter, or at least a mild winter, has been good.”
Meanwhile, Chris Andro at Hemlock Hill RV Sales in Plantsville, Connecticut, says the same towable increase has been seen there. However, another trend he’s noticing is the heavy demand for new trailers as opposed to anything in the used market, significantly hurting that aspect of the business.
“It’s mainly heavy in fifth wheels and we’ve seen a dramatic increase in new over used,” Andro says. “We had a real big increase in new retail sold and our used kind of stayed flat, which bodes well for travel trailers.”
But Andro is not taking anything for granted. He’s been through peaks and valleys before, seeing recessions followed by booms giving way to even more recessions. And he feels that being conservative in the times of plenty is the best way to prepare for a possible drop into a recession.
“Connecticut is a high income capital state. The people who make money spend a lot of it quickly and they’re also the first to cut back quickly when things go south,” Andro says. “Just based on the trends and everything I’m hearing from people I know, a 24-30 month range could be a correction for us.”
Andro points to the political climate both nationally and globally and says things could create a perfect storm in two to three years’ time. Certainly, Andro hopes the current trends continue long-term, but he says there’s sense in being prepared for the worst, even if it remains invisible at the time.
“Between the elections, the house turnover and the political environment is no unstable, the world is so unstable, within that, we could look at a correction,” Andro says. “We’re on the fifth or sixth year of growth and in the past, we get five or six years, then on the seventh there’s a drop off and then we plummet.”
Not one to create pessimism when none is visible, Andro says everything in his business has taken off and it appears to be staying that way through most of the year and he hopes it will stay there through the end of the year. A shift in parts and services at his dealership with personnel and new programs put into place about 18 months ago have finally reaped the benefits and are seeing an increase in retail value.
But, still, Andro likes to be prepared.
“I’m running my company preparing for that (possible downturn),” Andro says. “I’m watching my balance sheet closer than I have in the past, watching inventory closer, putting up inventory controls and keeping our turnovers at what our budgets are for.”