RVIA President Craig Kirby Issues Message to Members

A photo of RVIA President Craig Kirby

RVIA President Craig Kirby issued a message to the association’s members March 5, detailing projections unveiled in the Spring RV RoadSigns forecast and RV Industry Task Force focuses.

The message is Kirby’s first letter to members this year. Last year, he increased communications with membership at the pandemic’s onset, at one point issuing a letter each week.

Spring is fast approaching, Kirby said, which is the traditional kick-off to the RV selling season. However, the industry experienced “something strange” during the pandemic – a constant selling season, he said.

“Looking ahead, I feel strongly this resurgence of interest in being outdoors will outlast the pandemic and provide a long-term, positive impact on our collective health and well-being,” Kirby said. “The outlook for the RV industry remains incredibly bright.”

Earlier this week, RVIA released the Spring RV RoadSigns, a quarterly forecast created by ITR Economics. Projections showed total 2021 RV shipments ranging between 523,139 and 543,572 units, with the most likely year-end total being 533,356 units.

“That total would represent a 23.9 percent increase over the 2020 year-end total of 430,412 units,” Kirby said. “It would also be a 5.7 percent gain over the current comparable record high of 504,600 units in 2017. These numbers are astonishing when you think that, not even a year ago, RV production was halted for nearly two months.”

In addition to the forecast, Kirby highlighted an RV Industry Task Force meeting that also took place this week. The group, including OEMs, suppliers, aftermarket members, finance companies, dealers, campgrounds and related trade associations, was formed at the pandemic’s onset.

“The optimism across that group was universal, with everyone expecting 2021 to be another banner year for the industry,” Kirby said. “The group was also in agreement around the importance of continuing our collaborative work on improving repair event cycle time (RECT), and we are going to redouble our efforts this year around this important initiative. You will be hearing more from the RVIA on this in the coming weeks.”

Next week, Kirby said Go RVing will roll out findings from a comprehensive demographic profile of current, former and intended RV owners.

“The study was led by research giant Ipsos and is the largest consumer segmentation study we have ever conducted,” he said. “A quick spoiler, the data shows that RV purchase intent is strongest among millennials, followed closely by Gen X and Gen Z. The findings bode very well for the future of the RV industry, as well as the wider outdoor recreation industry.”

Many consumers discovered RVs for the first time in 2020, Kirby said, but the industry has been experiencing more than 40 years’ growth.

“For our growth to continue, we must ensure that consumers have the enjoyable experience they expect and deserve,” Kirby said. “As I stated several times before, we have an incredible opportunity in front of us. And that opportunity is the millions of new people looking to get outdoors, and how we can all work together to make RVs the preferred form of outdoor enjoyment for millions of consumers for decades to come.”

Kirby said he encourages members to contact him or RVIA with thoughts and ideas regarding the association or industry at-large.

“Thank you for your support of the organization and we look forward to the opportunities ahead,” he said.

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