RV sales down 49% this year, bursting the pandemic motor-home bubble.

RV sales down 49% this year, bursting the pandemic motor-home bubble.

The Decline in RV Sales: A Temporary Slump or a Long-term Trend?

RV Sales

The Current State of RV Sales

According to the RV Industry Association, shipments of recreational vehicles (RVs) have seen a significant decline of 49.2% year to date, with a 46.4% drop in June compared to the same period last year1. This is a concerning trend for an industry that experienced a boom during the pandemic as people sought to control travel costs while still enjoying the outdoors.

For the year to date, sales of all trailers have totaled 105,975 units, a stark contrast to the 228,740 units sold at this time last year2. Virtually all categories of trailers have seen sharp declines, with only mini-trailers (also known as Class A) showing a small increase in overall sales by nearly 3% in 20233.

Factors Contributing to the Decline

The surge in RV sales during the pandemic was driven by a combination of factors. High gas prices and the desire for outdoor adventures motivated many to invest in RVs as a cost-effective travel option. However, as gas prices have stabilized and the pandemic restrictions eased, the demand for RVs has seen a significant decrease4.

In addition to lowered demand, the recent surge in interest rates has also made RVs much less affordable for potential buyers, further contributing to the decline in sales5. The rising interest rates have dampened the enthusiasm for big-ticket purchases, affecting the RV industry as well.

A Temporary Slump or a Long-term Trend?

While the current decline in RV sales is certainly concerning, industry experts are optimistic about a potential recovery later this year and into 2024. Craig Kirby, the president and CEO of the RV Industry Association, believes that as consumer confidence increases and the interest in camping and RVing continues, RV sales will rebound6.

It is important to note that historically, RV sales have been considered a gauge of upcoming recessions. However, economists suggest that the surge in interest during the pandemic may alter this trend, making it difficult to predict the impact of RV sales on the overall economy7.

Fuel Efficiency and Variations in Mileage

One of the key concerns among potential RV buyers is fuel efficiency. The mileage varies depending on the type of RV. A Class B RV, also known as a camper van, can get approximately 24 miles per gallon, making it a relatively fuel-efficient option8. On the other hand, Class C vehicles, built on a truck chassis, average around 16 miles per gallon9. Class A giant RVs, which offer spacious interiors, have a lower fuel efficiency, providing approximately 11 miles per gallon10.

Looking Ahead: The Road to Recovery

RV sales in 2023 are on track to hit their lowest level since 2015, but industry experts remain optimistic about the future. With increased consumer confidence and the enduring interest in camping and RV travel, there is hope for a rebound in the coming months and years11.

In conclusion, while the decline in RV sales is a cause for concern, it is important to view it in the context of the unique circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The recent slump in sales can be attributed to several factors, including stabilized gas prices, rising interest rates, and a temporary decline in demand. However, with the ongoing interest in camping and RVing, the industry is expected to bounce back, allowing enthusiasts to hit the open road once again.


  1. Fortune: RV sales hit a slump as gas prices stabilize, interest rates rise↩︎

  2. Fortune: RV sales hit a slump as gas prices stabilize, interest rates rise↩︎

  3. Fortune: RV sales hit a slump as gas prices stabilize, interest rates rise↩︎

  4. Fortune: RV sales hit a slump as gas prices stabilize, interest rates rise↩︎

  5. Fortune: RV sales hit a slump as gas prices stabilize, interest rates rise↩︎

  6. Fortune: RV sales hit a slump as gas prices stabilize, interest rates rise↩︎

  7. Fortune: RV sales hit a slump as gas prices stabilize, interest rates rise↩︎

  8. Fortune: RV sales hit a slump as gas prices stabilize, interest rates rise↩︎

  9. Fortune: RV sales hit a slump as gas prices stabilize, interest rates rise↩︎

  10. Fortune: RV sales hit a slump as gas prices stabilize, interest rates rise↩︎

  11. Fortune: RV sales hit a slump as gas prices stabilize, interest rates rise↩︎