A forecast for the remainder of this year and 2015 predicts continued growth in the recreational vehicle industry.
According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, the forecast expects wholesale shipments of RVs will reach 349,400 units this year. That amount of shipments would be an 8.8 percent increase over 2013’s total.
The forecast, compiled by industry analyst Dr. Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan, also expects the growth will continue into 2015 with a 3.1 percent gain in shipments that year. That growth would mean 360,100 units would be shipped.
The forecast was released Monday during the RVIA’s Joint Committee Luncheon in Washington, D.C. The RVIA is the RV industry’s trade association.
If the growth continues through 2015, it would be the sixth consecutive year the industry experienced gains.
The industry’s record shipments occurred in 2006, with 390,500 RVs shipped. The record low came three years later in 2009 when the industry was devastated by the Great Recession. Just 165,700 RVs were shipped that year.
“The RV industry’s promising future is based on gains in jobs, incomes and household wealth,” said Curtin, director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, during his presentation. “Rising home values will continue to strengthen home equity, and along with higher stock prices, will bolster the willingness and ability of new RV buyers.”
The revival of the RV industry following the Great Recession is due to the creation of new products that are valued by consumers, Curtin told the audience.
“Innovative products result from a company’s culture that encourages active participation of all employees in the design, production and marketing of RVs,” Curtin said.
RV makers continue to benefit from people’s strong attachment to the RV lifestyle, Curtin said. Consumers have adjusted their RV preferences to meet their new economic realities, and RV manufacturers have adjusted their product lines to reflect those changes. Both RVers and RV manufacturers must be recognized as early adapters to changing economic conditions, Curtin said.
“The RV marketplace has confirmed the perfect match between the continuous innovative process used by RV manufacturers and suppliers and the enduring appeal of the RV lifestyle among consumers,” Curtin said.