Has the #Vanlife Bubble Burst?
The lure of the open road is an American tale as old as time. And during the pandemic, when all other travel routes were shuttered, one travel market segment soared – the market for vans, campers, and RV’s.
“The #vanlife movement was already in full swing before the pandemic, fueled by envy-inducing posts on Instagram and DIY van conversion videos on YouTube. But as the pandemic took hold, more and more antsy Americans who could work remotely decided to join the vanlife community,” reported CNN.1
With sales soaring in 2021 and 2022 for RV’s, what has the market been like in 2023? Has the #vanlife bubble burst? The easy, and short but definitive answer is Yes. According to the RV Industry Association monthly market report, RV shipments are down -49.7% year over year. 2
“Buyers are balking at soaring prices, forcing U.S. RV manufacturers to temporarily shutter production and dealers to discount inventory,” reports Chris Bryant for Bloomberg Opinion.3 In fact, two-thirds of the 40 North American dealers surveyed recently by Truist Securities are discounting 2022 model year inventory by 30% or more from the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.4
With high discounts on newer models, what is happening in the used RV market? While the new RV market might be seeing a slowdown, the auction market is heating up, with wholesale RV auctions seeing dramatic increases in volume in March.5 “Both volume and value jumped a bunch,” says industry analyst Josh Winters in his RV Industry Update for June 2023.6 And while this could be a one-time seasonal burst of activity, only time will tell.
With all of this turbulence in the market, insurers, fleet managers, and dealers need to stay ahead of the curve when assessing values. They can do this by accessing the industry standard Recreational Vehicle Blue Book from PriceDigests.com. Look up recreational vehicle data online at app.pricedigests.com through annual web subscriptions, available for individuals and bulk subscriptions for larger organizations, as well as single lookups by searching for a specific make/model.