Survey Says

Everything is just peachy. Especially in the RV Industry. Thor released the North American RV Consumer Survey Report. You can find the press release here. And you can download the report here.

Highlights:

Vacation Plans

  • 94% of consumers surveyed plan to vacation in 2020
  • 50% of those with vacation plans indicate that a vacation will occur in October – potentially extending the traditional camping season

RV Usage

  • 79% of consumers plan to use their RV as much or more than they had in 2019
  • 56% of those who intend to vacation in a RV plan to utilize it for weekend trips and 53% are planning at least one week-long trip
  • The opening of campgrounds is the top indicator for consumers to start camping

Purchase Intent

  • 50% of consumers with intent to buy in 2020 plan to purchase in May – August
  • 58% of those with purchase intent are open to purchasing virtually- offering additional opportunities for dealers to welcome consumers into the RV lifestyle

Thor’s press release ends with this quote:

“The Thor companies are excited to share the findings from our 2020 North American survey as we continue to assist our dealer partners as they welcome consumers into the RV lifestyle in this unique environment,” explained Thor President and CEO Bob Martin. “Our research supports that consumers understand that the RV lifestyle is a great way to social distance, create unforgettable family experiences, and get away and recharge. We believe the best way to get outside for some enjoyment and adventure in a safe way is in an RV. The data shows that consumers agree.”

I continue to read interesting headlines about RV sales in the U.S. newspapers. Here are just a few examples:

Better hurry up and buy one now. They are going fast!

There is a strong correlation between the Consumer Confidence Index and the sales of RVs. I had posted about this before. Here is a recent chart:

Let’s take a look at the latest OECD data shall we? And we can drill down to see what it looks like for both Canada and the United States.

This consumer confidence indicator provides an indication of future developments of households’ consumption and saving, based upon answers regarding their expected financial situation, their sentiment about the general economic situation, unemployment and capability of savings. An indicator above 100 signals a boost in the consumers’ confidence towards the future economic situation, as a consequence of which they are less prone to save, and more inclined to spend money on major purchases in the next 12 months. Values below 100 indicate a pessimistic attitude towards future developments in the economy, possibly resulting in a tendency to save more and consume less.

Spin is spin and I get that all industries — not just the RV industry — are wanting to encourage consumers to race out and spend money.

With roughly 8 million Canadians now relying on the government to meet their daily expenses, I somehow doubt that we will see a mad dash to purchase RVs in this country.

Perhaps it is different in the United States. In Canada, we haven’t seen job numbers this poor in a long, long time.

It will take some time to bounce back from that cliff. And, despite the rhetoric about the masses rushing out to buy “Covid Campers”, I suspect that many Canadians will be focused on something a little more basic, like buying food.

Campgrounds for short-term stays have yet to open up in Ontario. At this point, I have no idea what opening up will look like in Ontario or how campgrounds will enforce social distancing protocols.

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