Demand not being delivered on
According to figures released by the National Caravan Council, as of January 2018, 2,435 units had been produced, which is an increase of 18.7% on the same period in 2017. The current moving annual total (M-A-T) also shows an increase, of 8.6% with 23,010 units being produced. Dispatches onto holiday parks in the same period is also reassuring, with 2,129 being dispatched, which represents a 12% growth. The current M-A-T shows 20,766 being dispatched which equates to 2.5% increase. The statistics acknowledge higher levels of production to match growing demand within the industry.
The new market continues to move at a steady pace with demand and sales replicating 2017. The industry as a whole is buoyant with the ‘staycation’ holiday becoming more popular each year. Of course, Brexit is creating more of an appeal to holiday domestically and the market has seen a rise in the older generation purchasing a unit for the next generation. But, there are some factors holding back the new market from excelling further. Consumers are swaying more towards purchasing a good quality used unit for a competitive price, which is understandable at a time where economic confidence is low. New unit stock levels are reported to be high currently. Some dealers noted that they bought more than usual in preparation for higher demand, especially for the early Easter holidays. All in all, the new market appears to be in a solid state with not too many complaints as we head into the warmer and busier months.
Demand within the used market is growing, but the ongoing lack of good quality stock available is still holding the market back. It will be seen as a real positive that demand is increasing, with customers quite often shunning the new market for more affordable used. Used units for sale are priced competitively and can offer a viable route at entry level. But, due to the lower numbers of desirable units being available, sales remain on an even keel compare to last year. In order to be desirable, units must contain double glazing and central heating. However, all that is readily available are units with a lower and unpopular level of specification. These older, lesser spec’d caravans are struggling to find a new home, even the export market that would traditionally buy anything, now expect units with the most popular spec. Expensive scrappage fees also do not help the situation. What is concerning is there does not seem to be an end to the stock shortage, at the moment.
Currently, there is a genuine lull in demand for 10 foot wide models. The lack of available pitches on holiday parks in turn with good stock becoming harder to get are factors. Consumers are also wanting more room than the lack of space a 10ft presents. There does not appear to be any real market domestically for them, only in the export market, which has strengthened in recent times due to the weakening of the pound. As demand for 10ft models drop, demand for 12ft rises but again, decent quality stock is scarce.
The media have reported heavily that the farming industry is in disarray as fruit/potato/flower pickers were returning back to their countries of origin due to the referendum result. But, dealers report this is simply not the case. Legislations to improve the accommodation farmers house their pickers in has been implemented and pickers who have been in the UK for 15-20 years have no desire to relocate due to having such steady and growing work. This is welcome news for dealers who sell-on accommodation to farmers.
As we enter spring and the most buoyant part of the season, values have been held for this edition.