The RV market exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel restrictions remained in place, many craved any opportunity to get out of the house. As a result, RVs and travel trailers provided a glimmer of relief for those seeking safer travel.
The demand for self-sustaining travel kicked the RV market into high gear in 2020, with record numbers of travelers buying or renting an RV. Pandemic-induced shutdowns included the RV industry, which led to supply shortages and price increases.
As a result, the price of RVing remains high in 2021. But what about 2022? Will the trend continue? If you gaze with us into the crystal ball, we’ll try to demystify a few things.
What’s Keeping RV Prices High in 2021?
As vaccinations ramped up and COVID-19 cases dwindled, restrictions began to lift in 2021. Even as most indicators show that we’re emerging from the pandemic, many people remain hesitant to engage in traditional travel.
While 2020 was a banner year for the RV industry, 2021 is poised to shatter those records. Many workforces turned to work-from-home modules after seeing how successful it was during the shutdown in early 2020. With the Delta Variant running through populations, many crews might be returning to work-from-home positions. Therefore, they have more ability to travel.
These are all just scenarios contributing to the main reasons prices will remain high: low inventory and high demand.
COVID restrictions dealt RV manufacturers several blows. Employers in the RV industry were forced to send their workers home for a significant period in 2020. When work resumed, productivity was limited thanks to social distancing and other safety measures.
In addition to that, the pandemic disrupted numerous supply chains around the globe. You’ve probably noticed that Amazon and other shippers haven’t been as speedy as they were pre-pandemic. That has carried over to the manufacturing world as well, where delays have slowed the supply of many of the necessary components to ramp up production, leading to low inventory.
The natural cycle of the economy forces prices to rise when inventory is low. Not only is it a capital opportunity for manufacturers to recoup some of their losses during times of no or low productivity, but it also helps to reduce demand so the supply chain can catch up.
Increased demand aggravated production issues because of restrictions and disruptions. Like the rest of us, RV dealers and manufacturers could never have foreseen the pandemic coming, which drove demand for their products to record highs.
As you might remember from your high school economics class, higher demand equals higher prices. The uncertainty in the economy and the continued interest in RVs make it challenging to tell if that demand will drop anytime soon.
What Would Make Prices Go Down in 2022?
While RV prices are likely to remain high throughout most of 2021, there’s a glimmer on the horizon for hopeful RVers.
More Used RVs
Though many people opted to travel in RVs in 2020 and 2021, some will realize that RVing simply isn’t for them, at least not long term.
Traveling in an RV may have been a haven when the pandemic was spreading across the globe, but that doesn’t mean it’s the preferred method of travel for everyone. Many new RVers will put their RVs on the market once they feel comfortable returning to other forms of travel.
Mounting concerns about the Delta variant and other Covid issues could decrease the demand once again. There may be a lower surge of people wanting to leave the house. As vaccinated individuals have more travel freedoms, the surge of travelers will naturally wane, putting less demand on the RV industry.
Of course, the opposite effect could take place–it’s too early to tell at this point.
Returning to normalcy is the driving factor here. As businesses return to full capacity and supply chains begin to clear up, production will return to normal and perhaps even increase beyond typical levels.
When that happens, the number of new RVs available will increase. Coupled with the expectation of an increase in used RVs, inventory should be considerably higher in 2022 than it was in 2020 and 2021. This would naturally drive RV prices down.
Should You Wait Until 2022 to Buy a Camper?
In our opinion, 2021 is the worst time to buy an RV. But, there’s not a singular answer to this question, as time will reveal much.
It’s human nature for things to cycle up and down, but there are many unknowns in the coming year. Travelers adapted during COVID, opting for the choice of RV travel to mitigate safety risks. But many of those folks will give up their RV travels at some point, and manufacturing will return to normal.
But the Delta variant bringing COVID back with a vengeance for those not vaccinated might increase restrictions again. Therefore, RV travel could dwindle for a time and then continue to boom all over again.
It’s not likely that the prices in 2021 will decrease significantly, although winter tends to bring lower prices in general. However, there could be an uptick in used RVs hitting the market, so you might luck out with a higher inventory in the used RV department.