Is the RV Boom Over for Good?
Many industries suffered during the pandemic, but the camping world blew up. Many people who were sick of being cooped up at home were all too eager to get out and about. The solution they found was campers. For about a year, there were even some people buying campers from Canada and sneaking them into the U.S. Things are slowing down now, however, and fewer people are into camping these days.
It was almost impossible to buy a camper during the pandemic
The pandemic shut the world down in many ways. You couldn’t go to the movies, schools were shut down, and it was impossible to go eat in an actual restaurant. Some states allowed you to order takeout or delivery, but even this was discouraged.
People who were used to being on the go were restless, and found other ways to stay busy without breaking social distancing rules by buying campers. This allowed them to get out and about and explore the country. Since they weren’t spending money on things like eating out, they had the money to do so.
Things got so bad for potential RV shoppers that it was almost impossible to find one in the U.S. As soon as one hit the lot, someone was eager to snap it up. There were also fewer parts to build new RVs, so the demand far outweighed the supply. It’s arguable that this may have even made the appeal to buy a camper even greater.
Regardless, this couldn’t last forever. When the U.S. began to loosen restrictions, the demand for campers began to decrease. It wasn’t too bad at first, but now things are looking a little bleak for the RV industry.
Things are drastically slowing down
Reuters reports that sales have dropped so much, it’s the lowest they’ve been since 2015. A graph displayed on the site reveals that things peaked during 2021, and have been falling ever since.
RV manufacturers are following the demand, and are producing fewer RVs. In fact, the U.S. is expected to receive only 300,000 RVs this year, as compared to 600,000 in 2021. That’s a rather painful drop for an industry that was at it’s peak just two years ago.
Why are camper sales falling?
Many of the people who wanted a camper now have one. They can always upgrade, but with the groceries and fuel getting so high, buying a new camper simply isn’t on many people’s lists of to-dos.
There is also the issue of financing. While there are certainly plenty of customers who are willing to pay cash, not everyone has this option. This leaves many potential customers having to request a loan from their banks, and the interest rates are slowly rising. In fact, it increased from 7% to 10%. This may not seem like a big jump, but when you’re talking about how much money you’re spending, that 3% is a huge deal.
Those in the know believe that this is the worst of the slump the RV market will face. Monika Geraci, an RVIA spokeswoman, said she believes that next year there will be 350,000 units coming in next year. Others believe that consumers will get over the sticker shock of the increased prices and interest rates, and begin to purchase once more.
Whether this will actually be the case remains to be seen. When a family must choose between paying increased rent or splurging on an RV that’s more expensive now than it would have been two years ago, the decision is rather obvious. Still, there will always be a market for RVs. It’s just not performing very well at the moment.