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This Memorial Day weekend, an estimated 12 million Americans are taking trips in their campers, vans and trailers, according to the RV Industry Association. But relatively few may be doing it in brand-new RVs.
After an unprecedented spike in the past few years, shipments of recreational vehicles are down over 50% headed into the summer.
At the height of the pandemic, campers and trailers were flying off the lot at Tim’s RV in Erving, Massachusetts, said owner Tim Christenson.
“There was days we would sell five or six a day,” he said.
Now, it’s more like three or four a week. Christenson said that’s actually closer to what it was like before tons of people decided to take socially distanced vacations or get into “#vanlife.”
“I think there’s a little bit of market saturation out there,” said Chris Dougherty, who runs Dougherty RV Consulting.
Dougherty said the industry has seen cycles before. He said that in past downturns, “even if people weren’t buying new equipment, they were going out and still using their RVs.”
That means potential business for parts and repairs. Also, the customer base is shifting, said Monika Geraci with the RV Industry Association.
“Over the past few years, we have brought in a significantly younger and more diverse RV buyer,” she said — customers who will eventually be in the market for new RVs.
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