Motorhomes & the Global Recession

How’s the Motorhome Industry fairing in the Global Recession

​With rising energy and food prices everyone is finding it tough.  Businesses, families and
individuals alike are having to think about their spending given the global recession. The purchase of high value, luxury products, such as motorhomes are considered purchases, surely these would be the first expenditures to suffer? Is this really the case?

With low interest rates, reduced pension growth and stagnant house prices what is the best way to use any money that you may have.  Leaving money in the bank is not seen as the safe haven it used to be and it seems that there are still a good number of people who are choosing to use their money to purchase a motorhome.

The leisure vehicle industry (including caravans, park homes and motorhomes) contributes around £6 billion p.a. to the UK economy, this is a significant industry that despite having a smaller impact than 10 years ago, still employs about 115,000 people in the UK.

As a nation we are starting to understand the benefits of the “staycation”, 1.5 million people regularly take touring caravan / motorhome holidays in the 2,000+ licensed holiday/touring parks in UK, the majority in rural areas where tourism is vital to the local economy.

The population is getting older, people are in retirment longer and staying active for longer, motorhomes are seen as an ideal way to see the world and enjoy the outdoor lifestyle.

As a case study of one, my mother-in-law is retired and has owned a motorhome for a couple of years.  She has certainly got the motorhome bug, she is able to take a lot of breaks at home and abroad, both long and short periods away enjoying parts of Europe she would never see on a standard package holiday.

In 2012 we saw 7,734 new motorhome registrations in the UK which was an increase of 6.5% over 2011 and the total number of motorhomes in the UK stood at 140,000.

So there seems to be a growing trend towards owning a motorhome and also, particularly in the UK.  These are not the numbers of 5-10 years ago but should nevertheless been seen as quite encouraging. The overall European market in Europe has had a tough year, with the Europe wide figures showing a decline in overall sales of 2%.  There are still some growth markets, including Germany (up 10.4%) and Norway (up 6.7%) but there are also some major losers; Spain (down 22.4%) and Italy (down 32.8%).

There is no doubt that motorhome customers are discerning buyers and although they have money to spend they are looking for value for money in their new motorhome.  The challenges of exchange rates are going to be with us for some time but European Manufacturers in particular have risen to this challenge and have managed to keep prices extremely competitive whilst retaining the quality product that the customer is demanding.

It is not a coincidence that manufacturers such as Hymer, Laika and Adria are putting a greater focus on the UK and see it as a developing market in growth rather than the traditional, but declining European markets.

As a dealer, are we happy with the sales we are doing? No, we always want to develop our business further but we are positive about the market and the way the market is developing.  As a customer, you should be encouraged by the interest of European manufacturers in the UK and the continued drive to better quality manufacturing at affordable prices.

If you are thinking of buying, or changing your motorhome in 2013 there is great choice and value out there, happy hunting!

Matt, Matt and Andy

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About Family Travel Centre (www.familytravelcentre.co.uk):

Family Travel Centre offers families and friends a way to make the most of their leisure time, through the freedom and fun of getting on the road and discovering the great outdoors together.  The award winning dealership is run by families for families with its outdoor and indoor showroom based on a 2 acre site in Brislington, South Bristol .  Family Travel Centre won Adria’s ‘Customer Service Dealer of the Year 2012’ and now again in 2013, and offers a full range of new and pre-owned vehicles including Laika, Sunlight, Adria and Globecar motorhomes, a specialist retail shop packed with accessories, and a professional on site workshop, with Dethleff and Hobby Service Centre status for any servicing or maintenance requirements.  Family Travel Centre gained ‘Premium Dealer’ status during 2012 for its in depth Adria product knowledge and five star customer service.  It is also one of three Adria Twin GT authorised dealers in the UK.

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