RVIA Predicts Smaller Scale Wholesale Shipment Declines in 2020

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RV wholesale shipments posted a year-to-year decline of 12.9 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2019, narrowing the pace of losses ranging back to January. Every RV type category experienced annual declines, with the largest declines led by conventional travel trailers followed by fifth-wheels, and then type A motorhomes. Together, the three categories accounted for 95 percent of the 3rd quarter wholesale shipment declines.

Shipments of type C motorhomes performed best, with an annual decline of just under 1 percent.

RV shipments are expected to total 402,100 in 2019, a 16.9 percent decline from 2018.

Wholesale shipments are projected to total 386,400 units in 2020, which would be an annual decline of 3.9 percent in 2020 from 2019.

While double-digit percentage declines are widespread in 2019, similar steep losses are not expected next year. Type A motorhomes are the exception and may continue to potentially fall by double digit percentages.

Conventional and fifth-wheel travel trailers are expected to account for 87 percent of all shipments in 2020, the highest proportion of towable to motorized RVs ever recorded.

Falloff in RV sales will be moderated by continued favorable trends in wages, jobs,
inflation and interest rates. Nonetheless, further shipment gains are unlikely in 2020 due to these factors. Positive trends will be stymied by uncertainty about future economic prospects, due to an expanding range of political economic policy issues, including tariffs and regulations.

In addition, a likely presidential impeachment in the U.S. House of Representatives and subsequent trial in the U.S. Senate, followed by a presidential election that will create uncertainty about the possibility of greater taxation to support a variety of social and health programs.

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