High gas prices will influence whether 40% of the RV industry’s target market buys an RV within the next 12 months, according to the Southeastern Institute of Research Inc. (SIR), which is studying the effectiveness of the Go RVing Coalition’s “Pursue Your Passions” national advertising campaign.
In comparison, SIR found that gas prices influenced the RV buying decision of only 25% of the core group of potential RV buyers during the first quarter of 2003.
SIR’s study was discussed during the coalition’s meeting in Washington, D.C., on Monday (June 7). The coalition meeting occurred on the first day of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Committee Week, which concludes on Thursday (June 10).
SIR, based in Richmond, Va., is studying the effectiveness of the ad campaign on its core market – parents aged 30 to 49 with an annual income of $40,000 and above, and at least one child under age 18 living at home. Its findings were based upon a telephone survey conducted in March of a national sample of households.
The SIR survey took place after the first five weeks of this year’s industry-funded, coalition-sponsored national ad campaign.
SIR’s findings that gas prices, which have averaged more than $2 a gallon nationally for the first time, will impact decisions by certain potential RV buyers pretty much is in line with the views of several RV manufacturing company executives who are in Washington this week for Committee Week.
Although the retail and wholesale markets for RVs remained strong in April and May, it is generally believed many of those sales were the result of commitments made during the spring retail show season.
Consequently, a robust retail show season this fall will be crucial to the RV market maintaining its positive momentum.
There may also be somewhat of a market shift that will favor folding campers, which tend to be smaller and lighter than other towable RVs, and consume less fuel.
Dealer inventories of Class C motorhomes also have expanded in recent weeks, although cutaway chassis for Class C’s are becoming harder to obtain as Ford and General Motors struggle to keep pace with commercial vehicle orders. As a result, dealer inventories of Class C’s most likely will trend lower.
But RV company executives generally believe the Class A motorhome market, particularly the diesel segment, will remain basically unaffected by high fuel prices, because potential Class A buyers, in most cases, are very affluent and aren’t very concerned about the impact of fuel prices on their budgets.