EXCLUSIVE: Retail Values Increase in Every RV Segment

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A shift from air to road travel in 2020 benefitted the RV industry, a new J.D. Power report found. Retail values increased in every industry segment, the company stated.

The findings are detailed in J.D. Power’s 2020 Year-End Review Market Insights report. Company Vice President of Business Development and Strategy Lenny Sims said trade values, refurbishment costs and retail prices are considered in addition to questionnaire answers. Despite a slowdown caused by the Covid pandemic, the report found increased values in every industry segment, with most avoiding a seasonal pullback in values.

“At the end of the day, supply and demand has a big impact on prices,” Sims said. “When there is more demand than product, items become more valuable.”

When manufacturers were shut down, demand came out of nowhere, he added.

“Consumers were seeing what options they had to enjoy time with their families, and the RV industry was right there,” Sims said. “Simultaneously, manufacturers were not building anything. Demand starts increasing, but availability decreases. That demand is still quite strong.”

Looking at travel trailers, the report found standard hitch units values rose 7.4 percent in 2020 than the year prior, and that gap widened in 2020’s second half.

A picture of 2020 travel trailer values from the Q4 2020 JD Power Market Insights reportFifth wheels started the year strong before Covid hit, the report stated, and continued to increase as the year progressed, averaging 13.7 percent more retail value year-over-year.

A picture of 2020 motorhome values from the Q4 2020 JD Power Market Insights report“If you look at travel trailers and fifth wheels, they tended to spike at the end of 2020,” Sims said. “Everything else keeps on an upward trend, including Class As.”

Motorhomes beat 2019 values by a notable margin, the report stated, with Type A units increasing 4.9 percent and Type C units rising 5.4 percent year-over-year.

J.D. Power also found smaller vehicles stronger in 2020. Camping trailers’ values averaged 2.6 percent higher. and truck campers’ values saw a 7.1 percent increase, the report detailed, with both segments increasing through the fourth quarter.

Sims said there was some question, going into late fall and early winter, whether the industry would experience a typical seasonal slowdown.

“It did and did not in some cases,” he said. “I was a little surprised. Looking at 2018 and 2019, you see the typical winter trends down. But in 2020, those trends were continuing upwards.”

The RV industry continues to benefit from the shift to experience-oriented road travel, the report stated.

“People have a different perspective on life and family,” Sims said in regard to Covid’s effect on consumers. “People who maybe never thought of being outdoors are traveling and seeing national parks. Now people look at their kids differently, they need to get out and spend quality time together. RVs are a great solution.”

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