IDS Report Details 2022 Dealer Trends

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A new dealer trends report issued by IDS said dealers expect to focus on increased technology outreach to younger buyers in 2022.

IDS’ report, titled “IDS RV Industry Trends Report: What Dealers Are Focusing on in 2022,” said the introduction of additional millennial and Gen Z buyers to the market already has changed the way dealers need to connect with customers.

“The dealers who will profit most from the demand are already thinking about how to further adapt for services, rentals, new tech, and up-to-date business practices while still navigating roadblocks like parts shortages and employee burnout,” IDS General Manager Frank Tamburrini said. “Technology on its own does not solve problems—it is the people behind it that make the difference.”

Among the first areas to improve, IDS said, is customer relationship management (CRM) tools. Younger buyers expect to be kept in the loop throughout the sales and service cycles. Tracking and automating communication will satisfy these buyers and keep dealers on top of situations, the report stated.

Online marketing also is a focus point. A recent IDS survey of North American dealers found 77% say they plan to prioritize online marketing. Offering text communication can be a part of the plan. The report said 89% of customers prefer to interact with businesses by text rather than emails or phone calls.

“Compared to firing off a quick text message, calling back or replying to an email requires more steps,” the report stated. “Not only that but routing communications through text helps to free up your dealership’s phone lines. More dealers are also leveraging SMS for automated alerts, reducing the need to play phone tag with customers.”

Rental service can be a dealership growth area. IDS’ recent survey found 21% of dealers currently offer rental service and only 5% who do not offer it saying they plan to add rentals.

“While rentals may not be the most profitable channel for many dealers, rentals present an opportunity for collecting customer data,” the report stated. “If you know who is interested in what type of unit, you can market to them. Buying an RV is a lot cheaper than buying an investment property. That is why we are seeing more people purchasing RVs and renting them out as vacation properties, including co-op buying RVs and sharing in the maintenance fees and profits.”

Service challenges remain, exacerbated by staffing concerns. More than a quarter of dealers expect hiring and retaining staff to be among 2022’s biggest challenges. More than a third said parts shortages will be among the biggest challenges.

Meanwhile, the 12-month average for repair event cycle times (RECT) increased to 32 days nationwide. Dealers often begin to catch up on repairs after the summer but IDS’ report said the company is not seeing a similar reduction this summer compared with last.

IDS’ survey found 88% of dealers prioritizing reductions in RECT times in 2022.

The report stated new buyers present dealers with an opportunity to offer more F&I products. The younger generations entering the market tend to be more interested in investing peace of mind, the report stated, making F&I not just a “nice to have” for many dealers, but an essential revenue stream.

With more dealers focusing on F&I, the report outline correct F&I key performance indicators dealers should track:

  1. Units Retailed per F&I Employee
  2. F&I Income per F&I Employee
  3. Finance Contracts (New & Used) per F&I Employee
  4. Finance Penetration (New & Used)
  5. Finance Income per Contract
  6. F&I Income per Vehicle Retailed
  7. All the above comparing each F&I Employee

“For many dealers, the last two years have felt like a crossroads,” the report stated. “The changing demographics of both RV buyers and dealership employees, combined with the challenges created by the ripple effect of the pandemic, meant that many dealers had to make technological upgrades that they may have been hesitant to in the past. While the road to 2022 has not been the smoothest, the boom happening in the industry right now should be celebrated.”

Dealers have shown incredible resilience, the report concluded, and are working smarter than ever.

“Exciting things are around the corner for RV dealers in 2022,” the report stated. “So, step on the gas and do not look back.”

To examine the complete report and additional information it contains, click here.

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