RVIA: RV Shipment Growth to Slow Through 2012

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August 23, 2011 by   - () 1 Comment

Richard Curtin

With consumer confidence sliding and a clouded economic outlook, growth in recreation vehicle shipments is expected to slow, according to a new forecast by RV industry analyst Richard Curtin.

RV shipments are expected to total 247,500 units in 2011, a gain of 2.1% percent above the 2010 total of 242,300. Shipments are expected to decline 2% in 2012 to 242,400 units, according to a release from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

“RV sales face challenges from the slowdown in economic growth,” said Curtin, director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, who produces the monthly Index of Consumer Sentiment. “Just as the last downturn was more severe than typical, the slowdown in the year ahead can be expected to be milder than average, but, unfortunately, more long lasting.”

The flatter projection for RV shipments is based on recent steep declines in consumer confidence that coincided with the debt limit showdown in the U.S. Congress. In addition, Curtin noted a “pervasive uncertainty” about job and income prospects, stagnating wages, depressed home values, and the likelihood of rising taxes. Each of these factors will adversely affect RV sales, according to Curtin.

“As a result, consumers have become more defensive minded, favoring spending cutbacks in response to financial setbacks rather than drawing down their savings or increasing their debt,” said Curtin.

In Curtin’s analysis, these economic conditions will persist and put an added premium on the ability of manufacturers to allow consumers to have the same cherished RV experiences within new budget realities.

“Rightsizing RVs for the decade ahead will require fresh thinking about design and layout as well as features and amenities,” Curtin said. “Those that adapt and evolve their products to meet the new economic realities will reap the benefits of market leadership.”

RVIA is the national association representing approximately 400 manufacturers and component suppliers producing 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States.

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One Response to “RVIA: RV Shipment Growth to Slow Through 2012”

  1. JOHN GOLDEN on August 29th, 2011 7:49 am

    I read with extreme interest your article. I agree there will be a slowdone in 2012. It stands to reason with the economy acting like a roller coaster at Six Flags more consumers will take more time before purchasing a RV. I believe they will as you say want more for the money they spend. In this age of green technology one of those amenities will be in the very near future a product called the ZLD which stands for zero liquid discharge. I read about it in the June 2011 issuePopular Science. It was selected as one of the top inventions for 2011. The inventor Namon Nassef states this invention will handle the black and gray waste for a number of industries including the RV industry. I went to the web site to gain additional information. I have come away wanting to know when this product will become available as I for one will want it in my current motorhome as an aftermarket or as an OEM on any new unit I purchase. I can only imagine being at a state park which has only one central dump station or a BLM which normally has no dump station and it matter not to me. The ALD in my opinion will finally make "dry camping" a true reality.

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