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RV Industry Off to Slow Start in 2019

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RV trailer near flowers and water
Photo: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen | Unsplash

Despite reports that the RV industry is set for rapid growth and increasingly popular among millennials, it was nonetheless off to a very slow start in 2019.

The RV Industry Association’s survey of manufacturers found that total RV shipments to dealers in January amounted to just 25,540 units, a near-40 percent decrease from the 42,441 units shipped in January 2018.

Towable RVs, which include 5th-wheel travel trailers, folding camping trailers and truck campers, took the biggest hit. Sales totaled 21,623 units for the month, down 41 percent compared to last January’s 36,622 units.

Motorhomes, which include conventional motorhomes, van campers and minis, finished the month with 3,917 units sold, down nearly 33 percent over the January 2018 total of 5,819 units.

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However, park model RV sales increased 12.6 percent with 330 shipments to retailers, up from 293.

Still, a single slow month isn’t necessarily a sign of decline. Most of the auto industry experienced a dip in January, exacerbated by the polar vortex that swept large parts of the United States at the start of 2019.

In 2017, RVs experienced their second-best year for shipments, and 2018 was close. Unless the market analysts somehow turn out to be dead wrong, we can expect 2019 to be a fairly strong year for the RV industry as well.

“RV shipments have experienced incredible gains year after year for nearly a decade, and this new industry data indicates the total number of shipments will continue to hover near or exceed the half-million-mark next year,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the RV Industry Association, at the tail-end of 2018.

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