Wed Feb 27, 2019
Author: RV News Staff
RV shipments will decline slightly in 2019, according to a new forecast prepared by longtime RV industry analyst Richard Curtin, PhD, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center.
In the Spring 2019 issue of the RV RoadSigns newsletter, Curtin projects total RV shipments will range between 444,500 and 475,500 units this year with the most likely final total being 460,100. While this would be a slight dip of 4.9 percent from the 2018 year-end total of 483,700 units, it would also position 2019 as the third-highest year for RV shipments on record.
Curtin believes the RV market will see a somewhat sluggish start to the year with first quarter shipments being impacted by unusually harsh weather and the federal government shutdown, shifting shipments into the second quarter. Robust RV retail sales, healthy RV inventory levels, and strong income, employment and household wealth factors will continue to exert a positive force on the RV market, he says.
Curtin also predicts that navigating the current economic environment will require companies to focus on flexibility and innovation—in both product development and customer service—more than ever.
“It is likely that new RV features and designs will account for larger shares of the market,” he says. “Adjusting products to these emerging trends represents the best near- and long-term strategy for manufacturers. Appealing to new population segments requires a total makeover. That includes everything from the initial contact with customers, to a new adaptive selling environment, to innovations in shared ownership.”
RV sales will continue to benefit from the aging baby boomers as well as millennials, Curtain says. The number of consumers between the ages of 55 and 74 is expected to total 79 million by 2025, 15 percent higher than in 2015. The number of consumers between age 30 and 45 is expected to reach 72 million by 2025, 13 percent higher than in 2015.