Finding evidence that the RV industry is slowing down is less likely than finding a needle in a haystack.
JD Power’s latest Market Insights Report for the second quarter of 2021 continues a string of research finding no pause or slow down to the booming market.
“Summer is peak season for vacation travel and this year it is peak season for pricing as well,” said Lenny Sims, company VP of business development and strategy. “We do not see the supply and demand relationship changing much into the fourth quarter.”
The report found travel trailer values up 29.5% through the first six months of 2021 from the same period in 2020. Fifth wheels are up 26.8% over that time.
Motorhomes also are seeking value surges, with Type A motorhomes up 20.6% year-over-year through six months and Type Cs up 23.6%.
Smaller units continue to find value as well. Camping trailer values are up 34.7% in the first six months from last year while truck camper values are up 30%.
“Smaller vehicles, we certainly found those jumping up,” Sims said. “It is always interesting to try and assume what factors made that happen. Are they more popular because there is availability? Well, newer consumers are getting involved, and then tend to start off on the smaller end of RVs, so that maybe it, too.”
Sims said the current pandemic landscape has not changed the company’s projections of higher values continuing through the year. He said whether the country completely returns to a pandemic state might not have a major effect on the marketplace because of the inventory shortages in place.
Although values are increasing, Sims said he did not see a plateau toward a peak, as Black Book wholesale auction prices recently indicated. In his view of auctions, the RVs going through the markets are not in great shape, potentially deflating values.
“Anything making the auctions today is not great, because if a dealer can sell it, they are keeping it,” Sims said. “That in itself would represent lower prices, but there are still some dealers where, that is their wheelhouse. They can buy at a price, repair it and make some margins because that is what they are built for.”
Rising gasoline prices into the summer also have not had a material impact on slowing valuations. Although Sims said RVers pay attention to gas prices, rising prices usually do not stop RV trips.
“When someone has a big motorized unit, and they are planning a vacation, and gas goes up a decent amount, the vacationer maybe does not drive 900 miles somewhere, but only goes 500 miles,” he said. “Or if they were planning a two-week vacation with a handful of short stops, maybe they cut down to three stops and make those stops longer. It is not stopping their vacation; it is just changing the pattern a bit.”
Sims also noted with numerous new RVers in the marketplace, who recently acquired RVs and began making payments, those buyers might be more likely to justify getting on the road to use their purchase, even with gas prices rising.