The RV Industry Association (RVIA) recently released its July 2023 shipment report, revealing a 30.5% decrease in RV shipments compared to July 2022. A total of 20,520 units were shipped in July 2023, a significant drop from the previous year.
Despite this decline, there is a silver lining as 38 million Americans are planning to go RVing this fall, and 26% of travelers are expressing a desire to buy an RV in the next year. This indicates a strong interest in RVing despite the current challenges faced by the industry, according to an RVIA Reports & Trends.
The Go RVing RV Owner Demographic Profile, another report released by the RVIA, provides comprehensive insights into the demographics and ownership habits of RV owners, former RV owners, and RV intenders.
The study highlights the significant growth in RV ownership over the past twenty years, with a record 11.2 million RV-owning households and 9.6 million households intending to buy an RV within the next five years. This growth is attributed to changing attitudes towards remote work and its impact on RV usage, as well as the increase in first-time RV owners.
The RVs Move America Economic Impact Study, conducted by the RVIA, shows that the RV industry had an overall economic impact of $140 billion on the US economy. This impact includes supporting nearly 680,000 jobs, contributing more than $48 billion in wages, and paying over $13.6 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.
This is a 23% increase in economic output in the past three years. The $140 billion total annual RV industry economic impact includes $73.7 billion generated by RV manufacturers and suppliers, $35.7 billion by RV campgrounds and related travel, and $30.5 billion by RV sales and service activities.
Additionally, the RV industry pays $13.6 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. The study includes all companies involved in the manufacture, sale, rental, repair, storage, and service of RVs, as well as in the aftermarket industry, financing, and insurance of RV purchases. The economic impact of campgrounds and trip spending during RV travel is also captured in the report.
The RVIA 2023 RV Shipments Forecast projects that RV wholesale shipments will finish 2023 in the 300,000-unit range and climb into the mid-300,000-unit range in 2024. RVIA President & CEO Craig Kirby mentioned that interest in RVing remains high, but current economic conditions are causing some consumers to delay making discretionary purchases.
The new forecast projects 2023 RV shipments to range between 307,000 to 287,200 units with a median of 297,100 units, which would be the lowest shipment in a year since 2012.
The decline in RV wholesale shipments in 2023 is being driven by macroeconomic headwinds impacting consumer budgets and leading consumers to postpone or forgo large discretionary purchases.
However, the sharpest portion of the decrease will end in the middle of 2023, with the rate-of-change then beginning to rise in the second half of the year and shipments growing in 2024 as inflation continues to ease and interest rates steady.
The tide is expected to turn in 2024 with wholesale shipments increasing to a range of 354,400 to 342,500 with a median of 348,400 units.
The RV industry is facing challenges in 2023, with a significant decline in RV shipments projected for the year. However, there are positive signs for the future, with a strong interest in RVing among Americans, a growing number of RV-owning households, and a significant economic impact of the RV industry on the US economy.
The RVIA 2023 RV Shipments Forecast indicates that the decline in shipments will be temporary, with a rebound expected in 2024 as economic conditions improve. Despite the current challenges, the RV industry remains a vital part of the US economy and a popular choice for millions of Americans seeking to enjoy the great outdoors.