Since rising to popularity in the early 1980s, RV sales have been highly cyclical. However, affluent retirees and younger buyers have propelled RV sales to the peak seen just before the Great Recession, and shares of the two best known RV manufacturers, Thor Industries and Winnebago Industries, reached record levels in late November 2017. Both stocks have sold off since the beginning of the year, which creates a favorable entry point and industry and company fundamentals suggest there’s still gas in the tank.
According to a recent article in Forbes, going forward, consumer spending, fuel prices and interest rates appear favorable and suggest further sales gains that are also forecast by the RV Industry Association.
RV manufacturer Thor Industries’ diverse product line is attracting a wide variety of customers, including Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials. Thor is seeing sales of both its towable RVs and motorized vehicles – some the size of a school bus – continue to grow. Analysts at BMO Capital Markets expect the recently enacted tax cuts to spur demand for RVs, benefiting Thor’s earnings going forward.
Winnebago is the best-known RV manufacturer in the U.S. Due to a strong backlog, management predicts healthy sales in 2018, resulting in its ninth consecutive year of revenue growth. The company’s RVs are popular among both Millennials and an affluent aging population.
Another way to play the RV market is through Camping World Holdings which is the largest RV retailer in the U.S. Its 120 locations sell new and used RVs, parts, service, as well as financial and insurance products. A rising tide may lift all boats, but in terms of RV sales, Camping World is the biggest boat. In the third quarter of 2017, Camping World reported a nearly 15 percent increase in same-store new vehicle sales. Analysts at BMO Capital Markets say there are no “headwinds” that would disrupt the RV industry’s and CWH’s recent strong growth.
Reprinted from RV Pro Staff