This industry includes establishments primarily engaged in the retail sale of new and used motor homes, recreational trailers, and campers (pickup coaches). Establishments primarily engaged in the retail sale of mobile homes are classified in SIC 5271: Mobile Home Dealers, and those selling utility trailers are classified in SIC 5599: Automotive Dealers, Not Elsewhere Classified.
Recreational Vehicle Dealers
In 2001, according to the U.S. Census Bureau there were 3,134 establishments engaged in the retail sale of new and used motor homes, recreational trailers, and campers (pickup coaches). They employed some 34,829 people with an annual payroll of $1.2 billion. The majority of the dealers were small employing less than five people. The total number of dealers climbed to 4,396 in 2003, according to D&B Sales & Marketing Solutions. In addition, the average sales per establishment were approximately $2.80 million. The National RV Dealers Association (RVDA) estimated that recreational vehicle dealers, as well as the rental market generated $15.75 billion annually.
Recreational vehicle dealers represented the largest sector of the industry with 2,243 establishments, with 51 percent of the market. Recreational vehicle parts and accessories numbered 744 businesses and represented about 17 percent of the market. Motor home dealers numbered 4,934 establishments. The remaining sectors include camper and travel trailer dealers, campers (pick—up coaches) for mounting on trucks, and travel trailers (automobile, new and used). States with the majority of recreational dealers were California, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Combined, they shared about 44 percent of the market.
Retailers in this industry sell new and used recreational vehicles ranging in size from pop-up camper trailers to large, luxury motor homes. The prices for these vehicles range from around $2,000 for a new camper trailer to more than $100,000 for some motor home models. In addition to new and used vehicles, the 3,000 dealers nationwide sell parts and accessories to accompany the vehicles and trailers, as well as extended warranties and service contracts. Most dealers also operate repair centers to service the vehicles and trailers they sell. Some dealers supplement the sales operation by renting recreational vehicles on a short-term basis. Other dealers have taken on lines of related recreational products like snowmobiles to try to balance out the slightly seasonal nature of the business.
The industry is dominated by smaller dealers who own single locations. However, there is a small but growing trend toward multiple location dealers, similar to that seen among dealers of new and used automobiles. Recreational vehicle dealers are more commonplace in states traditionally known as being recreation or retirement destinations, such as California, Texas, Michigan, and Florida.
The relative health of the industry is closely tied to the health of the national economy. Because of this, the fortunes of retailers of new and used recreational vehicles across the country have risen and fallen with national economic cycles.
The sale of new and used recreational...