According to figures released by the National Caravan Council (NCC), first registrations of motorcaravans in April were up 10% compared to last year, at 1,668 units. The moving annual total (M-A-T) as of April showed a 3.8% increase with 5,382 units registered, confirming that once again, the market continues to grow.
The NCC registration statistics are not a true reflection of the dealer opinions that the Glass’s editorial team have spoken to over the past three months. Despite improving sales after the New Year, many dealers voiced concern that unless the market witnessed dramatic improvement during the spring, it would be a difficult and testing summer. For the most part, the spring sales period did not provide the hoped for results.
The market continues to be inconsistent and still seems to be suffering due to cautious consumers. For the first time since the Brexit vote, many dealers suggest the fast approaching leave date is the main factor behind the struggling market. The uncertainty on government strategy is causing consumers to be wary of making expensive purchases. Additionally, manufacturer price increases for the 2018 season have not helped new registrations, however, the used market is gaining more attention.
The longer days and high temperatures have officially marked the start of camping season. Unfortunately, the busiest selling period is over with many dealers finding their forecourts still filled with new stock. With no sales improvements in the market, we predict distress selling with even more generous discounts offered to customers and dealers in an attempt to reduce stock.
The start of the summer also marks the arrival of the manufacturer product launches for the 2019 season. This time last year, dealers were ordering record amounts of stock off the back of another positive year for the new market. This year will see orders reducing with concern mounting for continued market erosion.
In the used market, reports continue to show high levels of demand. Sales are solid in a market hindered by a lack of stock. The market continues to see the arrival of first time buyers, who generally go down the used route for their first purchase, to experience motorcaravans for the first time. Existing owners are also opting to buy used units instead of new where they believe they can find better value for money.
This may not be the case for much longer. Used values have increased dramatically, especially over the past six months with two main contributing factors;
- used dealer stock availability affected by;
- the rising popularity of used units
- the lack of quality stock due to lower registrations in the past
- private owners reluctance to trade-in preferring to sell privately to maximise returns
- dealer competition created by;
- an industry that is an attractive prospect to new entrants due to rising demand
- car and commercial vehicle dealers joining the market
- prices increasing through new business plans and a need for return on investment
It is the increase in pricing that is of further significance here. Dealers are following the market to ensure they are not advertising units too low. This in turn has seen models that are 8-10 years old losing no value over a 3-5 year period. It is hard to predict when this will end and values start to plateau, especially when demand continues to increase. Due to this continued strength in the used market, values have been held for this edition.
For subscribers of the Glass’s Caravan app, please ensure that you regularly update the current edition and previous editions to receive the latest datasets. Since the July 2017 guide, we have added over 600 previously unvalued models to our database to help you value the vehicles around you.