Written By Greg Long
As we roll into November 2023, the RV industry finds itself in a state of correction. RV manufacturers and dealers are currently recovering from the unforeseen challenges posed by the Post-COVID era.
With a perfect storm of supply chain disruptions, fluctuating demand, and ever-changing consumer preferences, the world of RVs has been on a wild rollercoaster ride full of ups and downs.
Bish’s RV, with the help of our good friend, Josh the RV Nerd, is here to keep a watchful eye on the latest RV sales data and news and share it with you every month.
We know how important it is to be one step ahead of emerging trends. By understanding what is happening now, we can predict what will most likely happen in the future.
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a camper or simply want to know the latest developments in the RV industry, this report will give you up-to-date information so you can make informed decisions and fuel your passion for all things RV-related.
Let’s dive into the RV industry Trends Report for November 2023!
Table of Contents
RV Sales: Still on the Decline in 2023
If you’ve been keeping up with RV news, you know RV sales dropped dramatically in 2022 and have continued to drop in 2023.
RV Sales Backstory: Why the drop in Sales?
Back in 2020, when COVID hit, RV sales skyrocketed as families looked for safe vacation alternatives.
In 2022, COVID restrictions began to lift and RV sales slowed — and have been declining ever since.
Current RV Sales Totals For 2023
Right now, moving into November 2023, RV sales are still declining, but the decline is slowing, indicating that the corrective period the RV industry is currently experiencing is getting closer to becoming balanced.
2023 RV Sales: -16%
Interestingly, both towable and motorized RVs have experienced nearly identical sales declines of around 16%, indicating a consistent market trend.
RV Sales: 2022 vs 2023 Comparison
|RV Type||2023||2022||Percentage Change|
- Sales Data provided by Stat Survey, a professional data analysis company that specializes in RV market data.
To get a deep-dive report on RV sales and Manufacturer Production numbers, check out our November 2023 RV Sales and Manufacturer Report.
Prices for New and Used RVs are at All-Time Low. See for Yourself.
A Surge in Campground and RV Park Reservations
Campgrounds and RV parks are experiencing a sharp rise in the number of people making reservations, and “RV Parks” is one of the most searched for RV keywords on Google.
What’s driving this trend, and what can you expect if you’re planning to hit the road in the near future?
Early Bird Gets the Campsite
According to the Kampgrounds of America (KOA), more than half of RV campers have already made reservations for the upcoming year 2024!
That’s right, even before the year begins, campers are locking in their favorite spots. This early booking trend reflects a high level of enthusiasm and commitment to people wanting to get the most use out of their RVs.
But what about those who haven’t booked their 2024 adventures yet?
Surveys are showing most RV owners have a strong intent to camp in 2024. People are actively planning their future camping trips and intend to reserve campsites for their travels.
Winter Camping Gains Popularity
KOA’s research also shows a significant 23% uptick in interest in camping during the colder seasons. This trend suggests that campers are willing to embrace the challenges of camping in cooler weather and are seeking unique experiences year-round.
The Myth of the Short-Lived RV Enthusiasm
Many thought the surge in RV interest during the pandemic would be short-lived, with new buyers quickly abandoning their RVs. However, the reality appears to be quite the opposite.
People are not only holding onto their RVs but also actively planning future trips. This may be because they’ve made an investment in their RVs and want to make the most of it, or simply because they’ve discovered the joy of camping and want to continue the adventure.
Ready to Start Searching For Your New Camper?
RV Dealer Acquisitions in 2023: A Shifting Landscape
The world of RV dealerships in 2023 is undergoing a significant transformation. Conditions have shifted dramatically from the record-breaking success seen in the years 2020 to 2022.
During that period, dealerships were riding high, enjoying robust sales and thriving business. However, as we’ve stepped into 2023, the landscape has changed, presenting new challenges and opportunities.
Overloaded with Inventory
One of the key factors contributing to the changing climate is the inventory situation. Many dealerships found themselves overloaded with inventory due to the unprecedented demand for RVs during the pandemic.
But as market conditions evolved, business began to slow down, and higher interest rates impacted affordability. This sudden shift caught some dealerships off guard, and they had to adapt quickly to the changing market dynamics.
Burst of Store Acquisitions
In response to these changes, there was initially a burst of store acquisitions by major players in the industry. We’ve discussed some of these acquisitions in previous articles.
However, as the year progressed, many buyers began to reassess their expansion plans and shifted their focus towards maintaining the health of their existing operations.
“Trimming the Fat”
In fact, some major retailers have taken the approach of “trimming the fat” by closing stores outside of select markets. Recent closures outside of Duluth and Chicago serve as examples of this trend. This strategic move allows these retailers to streamline their operations and allocate resources more efficiently.
Camping World’s Acquisition
One notable acquisition in recent news is Camping World‘s announcement of its acquisition of Travelcamp, a chain of RV dealerships along the southern belt of the country.
This acquisition encompasses 12 stores, including locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.
It’s a clear sign that larger players are still active in the acquisition game, even as some others take a more cautious approach.
To see Who the Top Dealers are in each state, read our article: AMERICA’S FAVORITE RV DEALERSHIPS BY STATE – YOU WON’T FIND INFORMATION LIKE THIS ANYWHERE ELSE!
Fewer Buyers, Stable Interest Rates, and More Sellers
As we continue into November 2023, the landscape presents a paradox: fewer buyers of RV dealerships, yet interest rates holding steady, and an increasing number of stores looking to sell.
This dynamic may lead to some small to medium-sized independent stores reevaluating their options and potentially closing their doors.
Latest RV Manufacturer News: Innovations and Developments
The world of RV manufacturing is always evolving, with manufacturers continuously working to improve their products and provide exciting innovations. Here’s a closer look at some of the recent news and developments from key players in the industry.
Grand Design Expands ABS Feature
Grand Design, a well-known name in the RV industry, has recently expanded the use of its Anti-locking Braking Systems (ABS) feature.
This feature, originally available in their fifth wheels and select travel trailer models like Reflection and Momentum, is now extending to their Imagine series. The ABS system offers enhanced safety and for Grand Design owners, making it a valuable addition to their RVs.
Grand Design Making a Motorhome!
Perhaps one of the most intriguing announcements from Grand Design is their unveiling of a new series in the motorized RV category.
Don Clark, the founder and CEO of Grand Design, mentioned that “Motorized has always been on the table,” suggesting that the company has been considering this move for some time.
While specific details are currently under wraps, this announcement underscores Grand Design’s forward-thinking approach and their commitment to diversifying their offerings.
Jayco’s Innovative Additions
Jayco, another respected player in the RV industry, is making strides in improving its products. They are also incorporating the Anti-locking Braking System (ABS) feature into many of their RVs, including the full Eagle lineup and their higher end brands.
What sets their ABS system apart is that it includes electronic anti-sway technology, enhancing both safety and stability during towing.
Furthermore, Jayco is piloting a new GPS-based system aimed at improving the RVing experience for their customers. They are actively seeking volunteers who own 2019-2024 Jay Flight models to assist with navigation and trip planning.
This innovative approach aims to make RV travel more enjoyable and stress-free, ensuring that Jayco owners can embark on their adventures with ease.
Ember RV Introduces the “Essentials” Series
Ember RV is not to be left behind when it comes to innovation. They’ve recently introduced a new series known as the E-Series or “Essentials” series.
While specific details about this series are still emerging, it’s clear that Ember RV is dedicated to meeting the evolving needs of RV enthusiasts by offering fresh and exciting options.
Regency RV Faces Challenges
In contrast to the positive developments from other manufacturers, Regency RV has encountered some significant challenges.
The company has filed for bankruptcy, citing a combination of market conditions and a major recall on Sprinter Vans.
These factors left them unable to fulfill orders and meet certain financial obligations, underscoring the complex nature of the RV manufacturing business.
The Aluminum Market: Potential for Price Spike Looms Large
The aluminum industry is currently at the center of an investigation that could have far-reaching consequences, potentially leading to a spike in aluminum prices.
The International Trade Commission has initiated a formal investigation in response to a complaint filed by the Aluminum Extruders Council and the United Steelworkers.
This investigation aims to address concerns about unfair trade practices that have allowed 15 foreign companies to significantly undercut U.S.-based aluminum production prices, with disparities ranging from 28% to an astonishing 257%.
The investigation, which is currently underway, holds significant implications for various industries, including the RV sector. Aluminum is a fundamental material used extensively in RV manufacturing due to its lightweight, durability, and cost-effectiveness.
Virtually all RVs incorporate aluminum components in their construction, from structural elements to siding and interior features.
The outcome of this investigation, expected to yield an initial decision by November 20th, could profoundly impact the RV industry’s supply chain and manufacturing costs.
Here’s a closer look at why this investigation is crucial for the RV industry and how it might affect prices and production.
Unfair Practices and Undercutting Prices
The complaint filed by the Aluminum Extruders Council and the United Steelworkers alleges that foreign aluminum producers are engaging in unfair practices that enable them to sell their products in the U.S. market at significantly lower prices compared to domestically produced aluminum.
This practice puts U.S.-based aluminum production at a severe disadvantage, creating a competitive imbalance.
The RV Industry’s Reliance on Aluminum
The RV industry relies heavily on aluminum for nearly all RVs. It offers an ideal balance of strength and weight, making it a preferred choice for constructing RV frames, chassis, and structural components.
Additionally, aluminum’s resistance to corrosion makes it ideal for exterior siding and roofing, ensuring that RVs withstand the rigors of outdoor travel and weather conditions.
Moreover, aluminum plays a crucial role in keeping RVs lightweight, which is essential for fuel efficiency and overall towing performance.
As RV manufacturers strive to create more aerodynamic and fuel-efficient designs, aluminum remains an indispensable material.
Potential Impact on RV Manufacturing Costs
If the International Trade Commission’s investigation reveals that foreign companies are indeed engaging in unfair practices and significantly undercutting U.S. aluminum production prices, it could lead to tariffs or trade sanctions.
These measures, if imposed, would likely result in higher costs for imported aluminum.
For the RV industry, which relies on cost-effective materials to keep the overall manufacturing costs in check, a spike in aluminum prices could present a substantial challenge.
RV manufacturers may face difficult decisions, including whether to absorb the increased material costs or pass them on to consumers in the form of higher RV prices.
Monitoring the Aluminum Market
As the investigation unfolds and the initial decision approaches, it’s essential for both the RV industry and consumers to monitor developments in the aluminum market closely. The outcome of this investigation could have wide-ranging consequences, affecting not only the RV industry but also various other sectors reliant on aluminum.
The aluminum market’s potential for a price spike underscores the intricate global supply chain dynamics and highlights how seemingly unrelated trade investigations can have a ripple effect across industries. For now, the RV industry and aluminum enthusiasts will need to watch and wait to see how this situation unfolds and be prepared to adapt to potential changes in material costs.
Stay Informed: Knowledge is Power!
In the ever-changing world of RVs, staying informed about the latest trends and developments is more crucial than ever.
Knowledge is power, and having a finger on the pulse of the RV industry can make a significant difference in your RV journey. It empowers you to make informed decisions about buying, selling, or simply enjoying the RV lifestyle to the fullest.
At Bish’s RV, we’re committed to keeping you well-informed and up-to-date on all things RV.
Our monthly RV trend reports are just one way we strive to provide you with valuable insights into the industry. You can count on us to continue delivering the latest news, trends, and insider information, so you’re always ahead of the curve.
The Right Time to Buy an RV
As we look ahead to the coming months, it’s worth noting that market conditions in the RV industry are beginning to stabilize.
After a period of rapid change and adjustment, a sense of balance is returning. This stabilization can present a unique opportunity for those considering an RV purchase.
With more predictability in pricing and availability, now may be one of the best times to take the plunge and invest in your RV dreams.
Remember to stay informed, stay inspired, and get ready to embark on new adventures with confidence.
Bish’s RV is always here to help you make the most of your RV journey, no matter where the road may lead.
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Bish’s RV Content Manager
Amateur adventurer; professional dreamer.
aka: The Bish-Blog-Guy