Curtin Foresees 9.2% Drop in '07 Shipments
Interest rates, the slump in the housing market and fuel costs will factor into a 9.2% decline in RV shipments this year versus 2006, according to the summer issue of Roadsigns, a quarterly newsletter compiled for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) by economist Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan.
Curtin revised upward his March projection of a 12% drop in wholesale deliveries, predicting shipments for the year would be 354,700 units, down from a 30-year high of 390,500 in 2006.
He noted that the high level of shipments in 2006 was fueled partly by an artificial boost in the travel trailer sector from hurricane-related sales.
Curtin remained bullish on the industry's long-term prospects, fueled by a largely affluent Baby Boomer generation that is supplying record numbers of consumers entering their prime RV-buying years.
"The income and wealth of RV buyers provides a buffer to help withstand cyclical downturns, and the shift in RV buyers from the more cyclical manufacturing industries to the more stable service occupations has also helped stabilize demand," Curtin said.
Curtin maintained that the industry was also attracting younger buyers while "meeting the diverse needs of a broader range of consumers, including the fast-growing Hispanic market."
During RVIA Committee Week in June, Curtin estimated that shipments would increase 3.5% to 367,100 units compared with his latest projection for this year.