Inside the Numbers: Towables Drive Wholesale RV Shipment Uptick

A picture of a pickup truck towing an RV down the road.

For the past two months, something happened that had not taken place for 18 months: wholesale RV shipments outpaced shipments from the same month a year earlier.

RVIA’s survey of manufacturers found shipments in November and December 2023 were up slightly from shipment levels in November and December 2022, respectively.

The difference has been driven by increases in towable shipments. The towable increase could be a leading indicator that dealer inventories are finally reaching equilibrium after more than a year of de-stocking.

In November 2023, travel trailer shipments rose 8.7% from November 2022 levels. Fifth wheels, however, still lagged slightly from 2022 levels, with 3,879 shipments in November 2023 compared with 3,904 shipments in November 2022.

In the latest December report, however, fifth wheels joined travel trailers in shipment gains from 2022 levels. Fifth wheel shipments in December totaled 4,180, a 32.9% increase from December 2022. Travel trailer shipments increased 8.3% from December 2022 levels.

The travel trailer increase in November was the first time travel trailer shipments increased year-over-year since May 2022. Fifth wheels needed another month to increase year-over-year, with April 2022 shipments up 9.6% over April 2021.

Although overall shipments rose from a year earlier in November and December, not all segments shared in the boost.

Motorhome wholesale shipments remain below 2022 levels. The December 2023 report found motorhome shipments down 9.4% from December 2022.

The motorhome market took longer to lose pace to shipments a year earlier than towables did. While towable shipments lagged year-over-year beginning in June 2022, motorhome shipments did not fall behind year-ago levels until November 2022.

Motorhome shipments in November 2022 were 24.7% behind November 2021 levels. October 2022 motorhome shipments were 4.1% ahead of November 2021 levels.

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