The July retail towable market declined 4.5% from a year ago with travel trailers representing the only product category posting a gain, according to Statistical Surveys Inc.
It was the fourth straight month that towable sales have lagged behind last year as retail registrations were down 2.7% for the first seven months with 168,707 units sold compared to 173,323.
Statistical Surveys noted that July data was incomplete for the states of Minnesota, New Hampshire and Wisconsin, and no information was available from Oklahoma.
The travel trailer market, currently booming due to emergency shelter needs for Hurricane Katrina victims, saw a 3.1% increase in July sales with 15,769 units sold compared to 15,298 in 2004. For the first seven months, the sector remains 2.5% ahead of last year with 98,820 retail registrations.
Tom Walworth, president of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Statistical Surveys, said the company is in the process of contacting manufacturers to provide a list of FEMA units shipped since Katrina hit in late August, which can then be tracked at the retail level.
“We will list the FEMA trailers as sold units so our numbers will match wholesale,” Walworth said, noting the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) will include FEMA units in its shipment reports. “But we will also be able to offer a look at regular demand excluding the FEMA vehicles.”
Other highlights from the July report include:
• Overall July towable sales totaled 26,352 units compared to 27,598 last year.
• Fifth-wheel sales declined 9.9% in July with 7,118 units sold versus 7,899 in 2004. The sector fell 3.9% through July with 49,514 units sold.
• Camping trailers sales dropped 19.7% for the month to 3,024 units and declined 20.1% year-to-date with 17,353 units sold compared with 21,718 last year.
• July park model retail registrations were 30.7% behind last year with 441 units sold while sales were down 18.1% for the first seven months to 3,020 units.
Statistical Surveys noted that July towable sales adjusted for the loss of data from Oklahoma showed a 3.2% drop from last year.