RV Industry Update and Sales Report: March 2024

Written by Greg Long

Feeling uncertain about the current state of the RV market?

Wondering how current market conditions might affect your plans to buy or sell your camper, or perhaps just curious about the latest trends in the RV industry?

You’re not alone. As an RV enthusiast and industry expert, alongside my good friend Josh the RV Nerd, we’re here to bring you the most up-to-date insights and news tips. We know how difficult it can sometimes be to keep up with this ever-changing industry. 

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with all the latest news and sales trends, empowering you to make smart decisions and confidently plan your next camping adventures.

Josh The RV Nerd gives you the latest RV news and trends in his March RV Industry Report.

Table of Contents

New RV Sales

Used RV Sales

RV Sales Trends and Demographics

Gas Prices

New Laws for RV Sales

Changes at Forest River RV

Interest Rates

A look Ahead

New RV Market Status and Outlook

As we look at the latest developments in the RV industry, one of the key factors we closely monitor is the flow of newly built RVs into the marketplace, specifically wholesale RV shipments from manufacturers to dealers. How much new inventory are dealers ordering?

The most recent statistics reveal a positive increase, with overall shipments rising by 11.1% compared to the previous year, marking the third consecutive month of growth over 2023.

However, it’s important to consider the bigger picture before we celebrate these growing numbers. About this same time last year many manufacturers temporarily stopped making RVs for several months to help balance out the surplus of RVs the industry was experiencing.

Graph of RV Sales 2023 vs 2024

So yes, there is a current increase in the amount of RVs dealers are buying compared to last year — but last year not many RVs were being shipped by manufacturers, so the actual number of shipments this year is not as high as we’ve seen in previous years.

Affordable Camping Drives the Market

New Travel Trailers and 5th Wheels

The surge in shipments is greatest in the towable segment, with a remarkable 21.1% growth observed.

This is due to a growing trend among RV shoppers who are looking for more price-sensitive trailer options. This heightened focus on affordability is reshaping the market dynamics, with RV makers and dealers alike adjusting their offerings to cater to this demand.

Kids playing outside a Jayco White hawk

New Motorized RVs

While towable campers are experiencing a growth, the motorized segment of the market paints a different picture, experiencing a significant decline in shipments by 26.5% compared to 2023.

The difference in shipments between towables and motorized units suggests a shift in consumer behavior, with affordability emerging as a primary consideration for many prospective RV buyers.

Table with 2023 vs 2024 Sales Data

New RV Sales Data

  • Overall RV shipments have increased by 11.1% compared to 2023, reflecting a positive trend in the market.
  • The towable segment has experienced the most significant growth, with shipments up by an impressive 21.1%.
  • Motorized shipments, however, have seen a decline of 26.5% compared to the previous year

Thinking of Buying a New Camper?

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Used RV Market Status and Outlook

Over the past six months, there’s been a consistent downward trend in the average wholesale value of used RVs, as observed through pricing guides like the NADA Consumer Pricing Guide.

While the decline has been less severe recently, it appears to be tapering off, indicating a potential stabilization in the market.

RV values seem to decline less with the onset of warmer weather as demand for RVs begins to grow.

Family outside their Stick and Tin Travel Trailer

Used RV Market Key Points:

  • Continued Decline in Towable Prices: Used towable prices have seen a downward trajectory for six consecutive months, albeit with a slight moderation in the rate of decline.

    This trend suggests that the market may be approaching a turning point, especially with the anticipation of warmer weather and the opening of seasonal campgrounds in the coming months.
Used Travel Trailer Sales data
  • Motorized Segment Ups and Downs: The used motorized RV market has been on a roller coaster ride, with values radically going up and down over the past few months.

    Despite these fluctuations, the overall trend remains downward on average. However, there are indications that both towables and motorized segments could stabilize in the near future.
Used Motorized Sales data

As the seasons change and warmer weather approaches, there’s a likelihood of increased demand for RVs, potentially leading to a scarcity of available inventory in the used market.

This scarcity could incentivize dealerships to offer more competitive trade-in values to replenish their dwindling inventories.

While the motorized segment’s values may exhibit a similar pattern of normalization and bottoming out, both segments could see a gradual uptick in values as we move into the spring and summer seasons.

Thinking of Buying a Used Camper?
Shop Now before Used Prices Rise!

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With the current environment of rising prices and market ups and downs, many are wondering who are the people who are driving this surge in RV sales. New findings from RV Trader help us understand why more people are buying RVs these days.

Kids playing outside their Montana 5th Wheel
  • Survey Uncovers What People Think:

    • RV Trader, an online marketplace for buying and selling RVs, conducted a survey to find out why people are choosing to buy an RV now.

    • Surprisingly, the survey uncovered that 60% of respondents are actively considering RV purchases, primarily driven by their optimism regarding the economy.

      These individuals believe that the economy will either improve or remain stable, providing them with the confidence to explore RV ownership.

  • Economic Conditions vs. RV Purchase Intentions:

    • Negative economic forecasts don’t seem to impact consumers’ desires to invest in RVs. Even among the 40% who express pessimism about the economy, there’s a notable proportion whose RV purchase decisions remain unaffected.

      For some, the idea of owning an RV serves as a form of financial security or an alternative housing option, especially in uncertain times.

  • Summer Rush and Interest Rate Influence:
    • The survey also highlighted a strong sense of urgency among potential buyers, with over 50% expressing their intentions to acquire an RV by summer.

      This rush shows more people are becoming interested in the RV lifestyle because they want to travel and change their way of living.
  • Additionally, there is a rising trend regarding the impact of interest rates on purchase decisions.

    Approximately 74% of respondents indicated that if interest rates went down, they’d buy an RV sooner.

    This indicates most people plan to finance their RV purchases through loans when they purchase.

    You can read our pro-tip article to get insider knowledge on How to Get the Best RV Loan.

Bottom-line: Even with all the economic ups and downs, there are still a lot of people who really want RVs. No matter what’s happening, they’re sticking to their plans and dreams of owning an RV.

Learn more on how supply and demand affect RV prices and Why Now is the Best Time to Buy an RV.

National Gas Prices

Graph of Gas prices
  • Current Average Price: As of February 27th, the average cost per gallon of unleaded fuel in the United States is $3.27.

  • Recent Trends: While there was a brief spike in prices a few weeks ago, they have largely stabilized since then.

  • Seasonal Patterns: With warmer weather approaching, a typical seasonal rise in fuel prices is expected in the coming months.
Map of USA with Gas Prices

Top 10 Most Expensive Markets:

  1. Hawaii: $4.70 per gallon
  2. California: $4.63 per gallon
  3. Washington: $3.92 per gallon
  4. Nevada: $3.91 per gallon
  5. Oregon: $3.60 per gallon
  6. Pennsylvania: $3.53 per gallon
  7. Illinois: $3.51 per gallon
  8. Alaska: $3.46 per gallon
  9. Washington, DC: $3.41 per gallon
  10. Arizona: $3.36 per gallon

Impact on Travel Plans: The fluctuating cost of fuel can significantly influence travel decisions for RVers, prompting considerations about routes, destinations, and overall budgeting.

Geographical Variation: Different regions across the country experience varying fuel costs, with some areas bearing a heavier financial burden than others.

Potential Legislation Coming to the Towable Market

Ai generated image of rv in courtroom

In a move that could potentially reshape how towable RVs are bought and sold, the Wisconsin State Legislature has recently approved a bill aimed at introducing RV-specific franchise laws.

Although currently specific to Wisconsin and targeting towable RVs, this legislation could have a big impact on the entire industry, suggesting a move towards more rules and regulations..

Key Objectives of the Bill:

  • Improved Customer Support: The proposed law aims to regulate how dealerships and manufacturers interact in the towable RV sector. It focuses on making processes like warranty claims and pre-delivery inspections smoother for RV owners.

  • Potential Impact: If approved, this law could reshape how towable RV dealerships and manufacturers work together, promoting better collaboration and responsibility.

    By tackling common challenges in the buying, owning, and servicing experience, the goal is to make the towable RV market more transparent and consumer-friendly.

  • Looking Ahead: While awaiting the Governor’s signature in Wisconsin, the passing of this bill highlights a trend toward tighter regulations in the towable RV industry.

    Similar discussions are happening in other states, suggesting a broader push for laws that protect consumers and standardize practices in the towable RV market. Bish’s RV is keeping a close eye on this bill. We will keep you informed as this law makes its way through the Wisconsin legislature. 

Forest River RV- Possible Changes Coming?

Forest River, the top-selling manufacturer in the country, recently made headlines with news of consolidating some of its production facilities. This move has many wondering about the company’s future direction.

For many years, Forest River has maintained multiple brands that offer similar products, providing flexibility for the company in its production process across multiple production facilities.

However, there is a call for a shift in focus at Forest River– they want to not only make great campers but also provide the best post-purchase experience for their customers. 

Rockwood Geo Pro in the desert
The Rockwood Geo Pro is one of Forest River’s Most Popular Campers.

Rather than eliminating brands altogether, Forest River plans to repurpose these facilities into customer service hubs, parts distribution centers, and experience fulfillment centers.

This strategic move reflects Forest River’s commitment to improving the overall ownership experience for RV owners.

While this transition is still in its early phases, there’s optimism about the potential positive impact on after-sales support and customer satisfaction within the RV community.

Interest Rates: Will They Be Dropping Soon?

Interest rates are a hot topic right now. They’ve been holding pretty steady, but there’s talk they might drop later in the year.

The Federal Reserve is keeping them steady for now to avoid an “inflation head fake,” where rates drop, but inflation goes up again, leading to even higher rates later.

So, what can you do if you’re thinking about buying an RV?

If you don’t want to wait, one option is to look for big discounts. Buying at a lower total cost upfront can help offset the interest you’ll pay over time. Plus, even if you do take out a loan, you can still control how much interest you pay by paying extra each month.

See Clearance Priced RVs and Save Big on Quality Campers.

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Remember, even though interest rates affect how much you pay each month, the total cost of the RV is what really matters in the end. So, it’s worth shopping around for the best deal and considering how you can minimize the impact of interest rates on your purchase.

Mastering the RV Industry: Your Roadmap to RV Freedom

Bish's RV Sales Lot

The RV industry is always changing. Factors like market conditions, inflation, interest rates and supply and demand have a huge impact on RV prices. 

Keeping up with these changes is not easy, but Bish’s RV has your back.

We are always happy to share what we know. Whether it’s about RV prices, or if you have questions about specific brands and models, we love talking RVs!

As you think about your next steps, consider these actionable items to further empower your RV journey:

  1. Explore our wide selection of RVs and find the perfect one for your next adventure.
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cta button- used campers

2. Contact Bish’s RV today for personalized assistance and expert guidance.

3. Stay informed and engaged with the RV community by joining forums, attending RV shows, or following industry news sources.

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Greg Long Bish's RV

Greg Long

Bish’s RV Content Manager

Amateur adventurer; professional dreamer.
aka: The Bish-Blog-Guy