The RV industry has seen enormous growth in recent years, with 2021 taking the prize for “Most Sales Ever!” But a year after the lockdowns and cabin fever that caused RV buyer frenzy, you may wonder if the numbers are falling into the normal range. Perhaps Americans have tired of the RV lifestyle, or they consider hotels ‘safe’ lodging again. Let’s look at what happened to RV sales in 2022.
Are RV Sales Down?
It appears that the run on RV purchases has come to an end. 2021 saw an enormous spike in sales, and that increase trickled down to all aspects of the RV industry. Campgrounds were full, parts were hard to find, and campers were flush with government stimulus money. Fast forward to late Spring of 2022, and RV sales plummeted 31% on average.
Class A rigs dropped 35% over one year, while Class C sales decreased 31%. Travel trailer sales fell almost 32% since last year, and 5th wheels saw a 33% decrease. The only encouraging news is that Class B van sales increased by 34% last year, and when you look at the reasons most sales information are declining, it will become apparent why vans are the RVs of choice.
Why Have RV Sales Dropped?
In early 2021, few people were traveling. Gas prices started increasing, and some households had extra consumer funds due to stimulus checks and the lack of open stores. Many experienced cabin fever from being stuck at home for so long, and others realized that RVs were the perfect solution for safe travel, as they are self-contained homes on wheels. People who had never considered camping purchased RVs in droves.
When they cleared new travel trailers and motorhomes off dealership lots, manufacturers realized their units didn’t have all the necessary components for sale. Supply chains broke down, and new rigs sat at the manufacturers, awaiting one or two small parts. With fewer vehicles for sale, the prices of existing and used RVs rose exorbitantly.
In 2022, we have $5 and $6 fuel, an inflation rate north of 10%, and many open jobs. Americans have discovered their money is worth less than in 2021, and food and housing costs are rising. New RV prices are inflating, and some used RV prices are up by 40% to 50%. It’s not challenging to understand why many people have foregone purchasing a 5th wheel, van, or motorhome.
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Is the RV Market Still Strong?
Compared to previous years, the RV market is still relatively strong. However, when comparing 2022 to 2021, we see a significant dip in sales of new vehicles. This may be the tipping point, as inflation is taking a bite out of every aspect of the family budget, from food and rent to fuel. Prospective buyers now have to choose, and it appears more are choosing to go without that new RV.
Is There an RV Shortage?
For specific RVs, there appears to be a continuing shortage, mainly because of supply chain disruptions. Some consumers report a waiting time of up to two years for popular Class B vans, but RV dealerships don’t appear to have a shortage of Class As and Bs on their lots. Some areas of the country have fewer rigs available than others. The Northeast reports fewer sales inventory than dealers in the Southwest. Overall, it looks like many of the kinks in the supply chain are working their way out, and consumers see more options available.
Why Is Everyone Selling Their RVs?
Many RVers are taking advantage of the high prices in the industry and putting their rigs up for sale. Some anticipate sales prices on their used vehicles to be much more than they originally paid. Many decide to sell because they can no longer afford the RV lifestyle. Record inflation affects every part of the economy, and many must choose between purchasing fuel to get to work or purchasing fuel for a camping trip.
Is It a Good Time to Buy an RV?
Most experts agree that although sales are slowing down, the prices for RVs remain high, so if you are looking for a reasonably priced vehicle, it is probably not a good time to purchase a motorhome or 5th wheel. It may take some time for prices to stabilize, and most industry experts suggest that 2022 is not that year. If you can wait until next year, you may have better luck. However, the price hike has ties to inflation, and as long as that remains out of control, so will prices.
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Are RV Prices Negotiable?
Negotiating a price on an RV is worth a try. As dealers and private sellers begin to see a drop in sales, they may be more willing to negotiate. Until now, most rigs were flying off the lot, with prospective buyers waiting for unfinished inventory. But as RV sales slow, there are more opportunities to offer lower purchase prices. It doesn’t hurt to ask. All they can do is say, “No.”
Is the RV Craze Over?
The love for RVing will never be over, but the enthusiasm surrounding RV sales after the pandemic seems to be slowing. With prices skyrocketing and inflation affecting every aspect of consumer spending, new motorhomes and trailers are sticking around dealership lots. Fees may begin to stabilize, but many are waiting out the RV craze to spend their income on necessities.
Are you planning to sell your RV soon, or will you wait for sales to rise again? Let us know!
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