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Despite a downturn in sales in the first half of the year due to Canada’s abnormally longer winter and wetter spring season, Canadian recreational vehicle sales remain sizeable — and it’s Millennials that are driving new sales.

The Financial Post reported that by June, retailers had sold 25,928 RVs, a 14.3% decline over the same period last year, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. The industry might still be on course to breach 50,000 in sales, after crossing 51,453 in sales in 2018.

Shane Devenish, president of the Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association (CRVA), said the drop in sales was inevitable as 2018 marked the highest number of wholesale RV shipments in more than a decade, but new sales have faced headwinds due to external factors.

“Nothing could sustain it without a bit of correction,” said Devenish. “There have been some outside influences, like perhaps the (U.S.) tariffs maybe scared some consumers off even though most of the manufacturers have only increased their costs slightly.”

Historically, the Canadian RV market consisted of an older demographic, a group that remains a core audience, but around the 2009 recession, Bruno Tombari Jr., the owner of the Bella Vista RV Centre in Orillia, Ont., started noticing a trend.

“That barrier to entry — the purchase price of the unit — has come down over the last decade so we’re seeing younger buyers being able to enter,” said Tombari, Jr. “I think the real estate market and those prices going where they’ve gone, these buyers can’t step into that cottage or second piece of real estate.”

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