Survey Finds Dealers Lacking Lot Traffic

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A new report from Thompson Research Group (TRG) finds RV dealers saying foot traffic on dealers’ lots diminished significantly in the third quarter of 2023.

TRG’s third quarter 2023 RV Dealer Survey found 90% of dealers surveyed saying lot traffic was slower in the third quarter than traffic was in the previous quarter.

Three-quarters of dealers selling motorized RVs said new sales fell in the third quarter from the second quarter. That total rose to 88% for dealers selling towable RVs.

“High interest rates are a hit to both dealer inventory stocking levels and the consumer,” TRG’s report said. “Even though inventories are mostly rightsized, the carrying costs have increased meaningfully.”

TRG said 2023 has been a reset year for the industry and 2024 is expected to be similar. Most dealers expect a down year in 2024, the report said, with towable RV sales seeing the weakest expectations.

“Interest in RVs remains strong but buying conditions are tough, with interest rates cited as a major inhibitor at the moment,” the report said. “Early thoughts on 2024 are for a better year, as salespeople are always the optimist and 2023 was such a low base to go off of. (Next year’s) retail sales expectations are for challenging conditions to continue.”

One RV dealer in the West told TRG half its sales were new RVs and half were used. Prices and interest rates, the dealer said, are hard on buyers.

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