RoadSigns* 2021 Forecast:
- Shipments for 2020 finished at 430,412 units, surpassing 2019 by 6%, despite a nearly two-month RV industry shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The latest projection shows total 2021 RV shipments ranging between 565,848 and 586,281 units with the most likely year-end total being 576,065 units. That total would represent a 33.8% increase over the 2020 year-end total of 430,412 units. It would also be a 14.1% gain over the current comparable record high of 504,600 units in 2017.
- Intense consumer interest and strong RV sales are buoying the RV industry. This forecast confirms what we have been seeing across the country as people turn to RVs as a way to have the freedom to travel and experience an active outdoor lifestyle while also controlling their environment. And the trend is likely to continue.
- According to ITR Economics, the strong forecast is attributable to three main factors: relief from supply constraints; OEM plans to expand capacity; and robust consumer demand outpacing very low inventory levels.
- ITR Economics also reports that their system of leading economic indicators is rising, creating positive conditions for RV shipments to approach record levels.
*The quarterly and annual shipment forecasts are prepared by ITR Economics for the RV Industry Association
Reasons for Increase in Demand
What we have been seeing over the past several months in terms of sales and interest in RVs is just the first wave. This has been fueled by people who see RVs as a way to experience freedom, control, and fun this summer and fall. They want the freedom to get out and take their vacation and enjoy the outdoors while also being able to control their environment—and have fun with family and friends while they do it.
The second wave is being driven by individuals seeking to use RVs as mobile offices. We have had a fundamental change in the workplace with the amount of telecommuting and remote work and we believe this will play a much larger role even as we exit the pandemic. You can set your RV up as a professional office and take that office with you on the road. You can zoom from a national park or any number of campgrounds across the country.
Additionally, the second wave is made up of families who want their children to learn about this country firsthand. With a large number of school systems teaching remotely this fall and many parents already working remotely, this provides an excellent opportunity for families to hit the road in an RV and discover our country's historical sites in person. Due to the school schedule, this was not possible in the past.
- As of Sept. 2, 73% of the 100 largest U.S. school districts had chosen remote learning only as their back-to-school instructional model, affecting more than 8 million students. That’s a lot of students now able to learn from anywhere.
According to the RV Owner Demographic Profile Study, released in March 2021, the top reasons noted by respondents for this surge in RVing include:
- Freedom to control the cleanliness of their environment
- Can avoid contact with others and still feel like they were vacationing
- Control own itinerary with no set schedule
- Bring everything you want from home
- Don’t have to leave pets at home or board them