RV Industry News Roundup March 2021
RV travel is here to stay. While many businesses in the travel and hospitality sector were gutted by the pandemic, the RV industry saw an extraordinary boom throughout the crisis. And this growth isn’t about to stagnate. Recreational vehicles have become the go-to option for travelers looking to explore the outdoors safely and in comfort. Here’s a roundup of the latest industry news.
In less than a year, Go RVing has captured the attention of nearly 2 billion consumers after adopting an imaginative marketing approach. The company partnered with a new creative agency and embarked on an ambitious advertising campaign. The goal was not just to reach a wider audience but to use a multi-pronged approach to target high-value audiences who will resonate with the message and convert. And guess what? Viewability with the high-value audience increased from 65% at the start of the campaign to 72% in November, a clear indicator that the approach was working. That’s not all: Site traffic skyrocketed, and dealer searches on their website rose by 931% over 2019.
To learn how the RV sector has been fairing recently, you have to look at a company like Camping World Holdings Inc.—America’s largest retailer of RVs and related products and services. They recently released a report for the fourth quarter of 2020, and the numbers show their year ended on a high note. Their overall revenue for 2020 increased by 11.3% to 5.4 billion, while the Q4 revenue was up by 17.5% to $1.1 billion. On the other hand, income from operations increased by $132.6 million from $66.5 million in Q4.
Demand for recreational vehicles is expected to soar to record levels this year. Just a year ago, when most RV manufacturers had shut down plants for almost two months, it would have been hard to imagine that they would see unprecedented growth a year late. But it turned out to be a fantastic year, thanks to consumers’ new desire to enjoy the outdoors in the comfort and convenience of a home on wheels. Now, a study by RV RoadSigns forecasts RV shipments will range between 523,000 units and 543,500 units by the end of 2021. This is a 5.7% increase compared to the recent record high of 2017 where 504, 600 units were sold. The researcher attributes the high figures to three primary reasons: easing of supply chain challenges, OEM plans to increase capacity, and a surge in consumer demand.
Winnebago Industries, Inc., a leading North American manufacturer of recreational vehicles, recently announced its bolstering its support of the National Park Foundation (NPF). For 60 years, the company has been developing products that allow consumers to visit America’s national park with ease and flexibility while initiating programs that give back to the community. Now, it has decided to fund important conservation and restoration initiatives in parks around the country. This year, they’ll focus their attention on the service corps program that helps young people gain essential preservation and construction skills. The training will give young people an opportunity to pursue careers in the outdoors while helping parks improve their infrastructure. This program will also speed up efforts to raise awareness about the nation’s parks and bring more people outdoors.
Kampgrounds of America Inc. says it ended the year 2020 on a high note. They had a difficult spring when stay-at-home measures were put in place—underperforming by 43% between March and May when compared to the previous year. But thanks to strong lobbying on federal, state, and provincial levels, recreational camping was finally permitted all over North America. Campers flocked the KOA campgrounds in droves, setting new performance records from June to October. And 26% were first-time campers. In the summer, they recorded the highest web traffic ever and reached $1 million daily reservation revenue for the first time. This strong performance is projected to continue in 2021, as they have already recorded a 60% increase in camping reservations in January and February.
THOR Industries Inc. has released a net sale report for the second fiscal quarter ended January 31, 2021. It recorded a record-breaking $2.73 billion in RV net sales. This is a 36% increase compared to the second quarter of the previous year. North American net sales amounted to 1.95 billion, while European sales reached $733.5 million. In normal times, the fiscal second quarter usually records the lowest sales. Yet, this quarter generated significant growth, thanks to extremely robust demand. By January 31, 2021, the soaring demand had already set a backlog record of $10.81 billion. To fulfill the orders, the company is ramping up production in a strategic and sustainable manner.
The latest reports show that plenty of people are getting on board with RV life. And we expect this trend to continue throughout 2021. So, why not rent an RV and happily explore new destinations in your own schedule without worrying about crowds.