Dealer inventories of new units expanded slightly in August although they remained rather tight, particularly in the case of towable RVs, according to shipment data compiled by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and retail sales figures gathered by Statistical Surveys Inc.
Tight dealer inventories appeared to be the case especially with fifth-wheels and folding campers, where factory shipments and retail sales most closely matched. In the case of fifth-wheels, RVIA members reported shipping 6,000 units to dealers in August, while Statistical Surveys, an independent market research firm, reported that 5,264 fifth-wheels were retailed that month.
However, Statistical Surveys was unable to gather August sales figures from South Carolina and New Hampshire, and it does not collect Hawaii’s retail sales, so the gap between wholesale and retail actually was narrower than the numbers indicate.
Additionally, the RVIA’s report includes shipments by its members to Canada and other foreign countries, whereas Statistical Surveys does not collect retail sales data from those areas, which means the gap between shipping and sales is even narrower.
In the case of folding campers, the RVIA reported 3,800 units were shipped in August while Statistical Surveys reported 3,616 units were retailed in the 47 states from which it was able to gather data.
Here are August wholesale shipments and retail sales for the other major product categories in the 47 states:
• Travel trailers – 13,000 units shipped, 11,093 retailed.
• Class A motorhomes – 3,200 units shipped, 2,411 units retailed.
• Class C motorhomes – 1,600 units shipped, 1,266 units retailed.
Statistical Surveys was unable to collect New Hampshire’s totals for the entire January-through-August period and it was unable to get South Carolina’s August figures. Given that fact, here are the wholesale shipments and retail sales for the first eight months of this year:
• Travel trailers – 90,600 units shipped, 88,154 units retailed.
• Fifth-wheels – 44,000 shipped, 43,521 retailed.
• Folding campers – 33,100 shipped, 29,998 retailed.
• Class A motorhomes – 25,900 shipped, 24,248 retailed.
• Class C motorhomes – 12,600 shipped, 11,011 retailed.