It is satisfying to report how much positive feedback Glass’s editorial team has received in regards to the strength of the market, even prior to the reopening of showrooms on June 1. Dealer feedback suggests that enquiry levels were reasonable considering the situation, with sales still taking place. Customers were content to make the purchase, despite only viewing motorcaravans through videos recorded and sent to them by dealers.
For the majority of dealers, since customers have been allowed back to visit their showrooms, sales numbers have been extremely strong. Feedback suggests that some have even experienced their best week ever. The volume of consumers that wanted to visit showrooms in the first few weeks was so high that dealers have had to implement appointment-only meetings to ensure they complied with social distancing measures.
The rise in demand since the early days of the pandemic has been incredible. Although feedback we have received indicates a slowdown in sales since the first week of reopening, numbers are still very strong. There is the potential that this intensified demand could continue into summer 2021 due to the rising appeal of the staycation.
The aviation industry has been badly affected by Covid-19. That industry was already looking at a difficult future due to the issues facing the planet regarding aircraft emissions, now it faces an even more immediate problem in Covid-19. Travelling in such a compact space with so many other people seems unappealing to many holidaymakers. Additionally, there are significant travel restrictions imposed on people travelling from the UK and of course the 14-day quarantine for people entering the UK. This means a holiday abroad is simply not an option for many people in the UK.
A staycation seems to be the only option for many, with dealers noting that many recent sales have been to first time motorhome buyers. There have also been more varied types of motorcaravans sold, especially in the new market with premium model ranges in high demand. A welcome change for dealers is seeing the sales ratio between new and used units becoming closer.
Despite the buoyancy that the market is currently experiencing, there is a lot of concern that there will be a dangerously low amount of new and used stock available next year. Some manufacturers are recommencing production in September, and have committed to producing outstanding 2020 orders first. Significantly, many manufacturers are not releasing new model ranges for 2021, just making small cosmetic changes to models. With production starting later and with no new model ranges, it is likely this will reduce the supply of units during a period of increased demand. This is the opposite of how the new market has functioned over the past few years.
The used market is also facing problems with stock availability, although this is nothing new. For years, there has been a limited pool of ready to retail, second-hand stock. Now there is further strain on stock availability due to the recent increased demand which is further impacted by a lack of part-exchange units as many customers are new to the market.
Most sectors of the economy will be unable to make up for business lost during lockdown. However, there is no question that the motorcaravan market has a great platform to grow with its existing and new customer base, if it can overcome issues with stock availability.