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Richard Curtin

RV wholesale shipments will see a modest cyclical decline through the remainder of 2019 and into 2020, according to the latest issue of RV RoadSigns, the quarterly forecast commissioned by the RV Industry Association (RVIA) and authored by independent RV industry analyst Richard Curtin, director of Surveys of Consumers at the University of Michigan.

RV wholesale shipments are expected to total 401,200 units in 2019, off 17.1% from 2018. However, the rate of decline will ease substantially in 2020 with RV shipments projected to be down 3.5% at 387,400 units in Curtin’s most likely scenario with a 60% probability. His alternative aggressive outlook (15% probability) pegs RV wholesale shipments at 400,900 units while the alternative conservative forecast (25% probability) sets the annual total at 368,000 units.

Curtin sees the drop in RV shipments being moderated next year by an overall economy that is still expanding as well as low inflation and continued growth in wages and employment. Higher wage and job growth could push the yearly total to the higher end of the forecast while an economic growth rate below two percent and sliding consumer confidence could send annual totals toward the lower end of the projected range.

Towable RV shipments are anticipated to reach 356,000 units in 2019 and 347,000 units in 2020. Motorhome shipments are projected to finish at 45,200 units by the end of this year and at 40,400 units in 2020.

Although shipments are trending down from an all-time comparable record high of 504,600 units in 2017, the RV market remains healthy in historical context. The projected year-end totals of 401,200 units in 2019 and 387,400 units in 2020 would respectively rank as the fourth and sixth best years for the industry and also exceed the 30-year (294,676 units), 20-year (331,206 units) and10-year (332,210 units) industry averages for wholesale shipments.