Richard Curtin

As RV shipments continue to track at a record pace, RV industry analyst Richard Curtin is forecasting further growth driven by an economic climate that “has rarely been as favorable for the purchase of RVs.”

Curtin reported in the Winter issue of Roadsigns that shipments soared 24% to 121,565 units in the third quarter, representing “the highest pace since the early expansion of the industry in 1973.” As reported during the Louisville Show’s Outlook Breakfast, Curtin foresees shipments reaching 505,600 units in 2017, and then increase to 520,700 in 2018.

“This represents an outstanding achievement for the RV industry both in terms of breaking the 500,000 mark as well as establishing a record of consecutive years of expansion,” Curtin noted.

Towable RVs continue to be the driver for the industry, expected to “account for a record 85% of all shipments in 2017 and 2018,” Curtin stated, adding that Class C motorhome totals should top any prior year since 1980.

Curtin pointed to the industry’s ability “to produce affordable units that appeal to all generations and meet a broad array of recreational interests” as being the key component behind the industry’s unprecedented growth.

“There is no denying, however, that as the expansion moves into its ninth year an increasing degree of vigilance will be required,” Curtin said. “The primary challenge will be to maintain the right mix of units with features that match the ongoing shifts in market demand across generations of established as well as new market entrants.

“Moreover, such an optimistic but vigilant outlook will become the trademark of successful RV companies as they proactively adapt to changing market conditions in the years ahead.”