When the pandemic hit in early 2020, daily life came to a screeching halt. COVID-19 put travel plans and family visits on hold. But soon, we realized RVs allowed socially distanced travel and lodging. So the boom in camper sales in the past year hasn’t been a huge surprise. Still, Winnebago’s sales coming into this year are astounding.
Winnebago saw a sharp rise in sales
At the end of this past March, Winnebago Industries reported that its winter quarter sales were five times higher than the previous year. Sales were up 34 percent as more people took to the road in motorhomes.
Winnebago CEO Mike Happe told Star Tribune that amid low field inventory, growing retail demand, and a record number of dealer orders, sales don’t appear to be slowing. He also thinks a growing interest in outdoor activities and lifestyles has come about as the pandemic has shifted consumer priorities.
The products that have seen the biggest boost in sales? Not the huge RVs but the smaller ones used for shorter trips. Winnebago’s towable products saw an increase of 55 percent in sales, and motorhome sales jumped 17.5 percent. Consumers favored Winnebago’s Class B motorhomes, such as the Revel, Solis, and Travato models, which measure 21 feet long at most and sleep up to four people.
Headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Winnebago pulled in $21.2 million for three months ending on February 27. The RV manufacturer made $4 million in the same time period last year.
A growing interest in the RV lifestyle
Once shutdowns last year lifted, consumer demand for RVs was higher than the supply. The result was order backlogs at Winnebago and other manufacturers.
Winnebago’s CEO said he had noticed a growing interest in RVs before the pandemic hit. He told Star Tribute he believes the pandemic has made consumers consider alternative, healthy experiences to match the shift in their priorities.
And now that so many people are become reacquainted with the great outdoors, the challenge is for companies like Winnebago to keep up with demand. Happe said he thinks marine and RV companies need to find new ways to appeal to consumer interest and engagement.
All the while, the company has been going full steam ahead, with disruptions here and there thanks to parts shortages. But suppliers have been instrumental in helping Winnebago increase its production numbers. If not for the shortages, it could reach its full production potential.
Great Winnebago RVs
One of the best RVs of 2021 is the Winnebago Hike. The functional travel trailer is stylish and convenient with several unique features. It boasts updated exterior styling and offset wheels to lend it the same stability as larger models.
It also features off-road tires and robust fenders to help you navigate rough roads. With the convenient front storage area, you have room for LP tanks, a battery, and all your outdoor gear. The Hike’s sturdy exoskeleton allows you to secure kayaks, boats, bikes, and other toys to the outside. It provides five flexible floor plans to choose from — all under 4,500 pounds.
If you’re looking for a drivable RV on a budget, consider the Winnebago Outlook. This entry-level RV is based on Ford’s E350/E450 framework. It packs a V8 engine and can tow 7,500 pounds.
The Outlook is a great example of an advanced motorhome. It comes standard with adaptive cruise control, electronic stability control, and hill start assist. You can also get optional exterior mirrors with electric remote defrost, adjustment, and side cameras.
Plus, like any modern vehicle, the Winnebago Outlook comes with an 8.95-inch touchscreen infotainment system.