RV shipments are expected to surpass 400,000 wholesale units by the end of 2020 and see continued growth in 2021 to more than 500,000 units, according to the Fall 2020 RV RoadSigns prepared by ITR Economics for the RV Industry Association.
The new projection sees total shipments ranging between 414,200 and 434,500 units with the most likely 2020 year-end total being 424,400 units. That total would represent a 4.5 percent gain over the 406,070 units shipped in 2019, overcoming a nearly two-month RV industry shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Initial estimates for 2021 have a range of 494,400 to 519,900 units with a most likely outcome of 507,200 units, a 19.5 percent increase over 2020.
The 507,200 units projected for 2021 would represent the best annual total on measurable record for the RV industry, eclipsing the 504,600 units shipped in 2017. The projected 424,400 units in 2020 would be the fourth best annual total on record.
Towable RV shipments are anticipated to reach 383,900 units in 2020 and 452,500 units in 2021. Motorhome shipments projected to finish at 40,500 units in 2020 and 54,700 units in 2021.
“The RV industry has experienced strong consumer growth over the past 10 years, but the recent soar in consumer interest in RVing driven by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a marked increase in RV shipments to meet the incredibly strong order activity at the retail level,” said RV Industry Association President Craig Kirby. “This new forecast confirms what we have been seeing across the country as people turn to RVs as a way to have the freedom to travel and experience an active outdoor lifestyle while also controlling their environment.”
“RV manufacturers and suppliers have seen historic production numbers this summer as we work to meet the increased demand from customers flocking to the RV lifestyle,” said Kip Ellis, Patrick Industries Executive vice president and chief operating officer and RV Industry Association market information committee chairman. “As we continue through the rest of this year and into next year, sustained wholesale RV production will be needed to replenish dealer inventories that are at historically low levels.”
ITR Economics also reports that their system of leading economic indicators is rising, creating positive conditions for RV shipments to approach record levels. Supply chain issues and labor tightness are short-term uncertainties that could limit the gains in shipments.
ITR Economics is the oldest privately held, continuously operating economic research and consulting firm in the United States, providing businesses with forecasting, economic information, insight, analysis, and strategy. Since 1985, their overall forecast accuracy is 94.7 percent at one year out.
With offices in Reston, Va., and Elkhart, Ind., the RV Industry Association is the leading trade voice of the $114 billion dollar RV industry, representing approximately 400 manufacturers and component and aftermarket suppliers who together produce 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States, and approximately 60 percent of RVs produced worldwide.