Motorcaravan Market Update

Jordan Conte

01 Oct 2018, Editorial

According to figures released by the National Caravan Council (NCC), the cumulative of motorcaravans first registered in June were up 4.2% compared to last year, at 8,552 units. The moving annual total (M-A-T) as of June showed a 9.5% increase with 14,409 units registered. This shows that the market has grown, once again. The statistics shown suggest a comfortable year for the market but, those on the ground would argue much differently.

New activity

Tricky, to say the least would probably be how most involved in the motorcaravan market would best describe the past year. The statistics provided by the NCC does not reflect a selling season of attrition. As we know, the winter and spring did not provide the sales that dealers predicted when putting in large manufacturer orders off of the back of a successful 2017. Most dealers that the Glass’s editorial team spoke to confirmed that over the summer months the market continued to be consistent at being inconsistent. Sales did not arrive to clear out large numbers of unsold stock on the forecourts. Huge amounts of distress selling was reported with incredible discounts being offered to customers. Many dealers will still attribute the slow start to the season to the manufacturer price increases. But economic uncertainty appears to be the main topic for the second half of the year. Since the year countdown to the UK & Northern Ireland leaving the European Union in March, panic within the media as to how slowly government negotiations are moving seems to have set in amongst the general public. Brexit didn’t seem to hamper consumer spending not long after the referendum result. Nor even a year after the referendum result. Though, it is true that the value of sterling has dropped and in relation to the market has caused prices for European manufacturer’s units to become more expensive. But, as the clock ticks down, it is of the impression that consumers are waiting to see the final outcome before spending. No one knows how leaving the European Union will affect Joe Bloggs on the street but it is thought to be hampering motorcaravan sales.

What next as we enter the start of the 2019 selling season? The majority of dealers reported to us that they have placed well below the number of orders for 2019 stock off of manufacturers. Some even by half. This in turn will have really hampered manufacturer production levels. It is reported that some manufacturers are offering dealers further bonus incentives to place stock orders before a certain deadline. But, with so much 2018 stock still available at hugely discounted prices, surely price-conscious consumers will opt for an in theory brand new 2018 model as opposed to a higher priced 2019 model. Especially at the October NEC show where some dealers have reported they will try to rid themselves of unwanted 2018 stock. On a positive note, demand for the industry does appear to still be growing. Popularity for the ‘staycation’ holiday is there to be seen, especially with the number of van conversion sales in recent years. Traditionally sales have been stronger on used units down to the high cost new prices on new models. But, dealers have reported they have ordered strong on new units this year, with some even ordering more van conversions than traditional coachbuilt models. Despite large increases of holidaymakers returning to the likes of Turkey and North Africa the popularity of motorcaravans has scope to grow.

Used activity

According to figures released by the National Caravan Council (NCC), the cumulative of used registrations in June were 2.7% down compared to last year, at 27,039 units. The moving annual total (M-A-T) as of June showed a 1.2% decrease with 54,690 units registered. These statistics were somewhat surprising as the majority of dealers the Glass’s editorial team spoke to reported they are up or level on sales compared to last year. Admittedly, the percentage decreases are small but there is a lot of positivity currently surrounding the market. As always, demand from customers for good quality units completely outstrips the supply. Dealers have worked with what is available within the market and bought smarter with bigger margins in mind opposed to sales volume, thus giving us the percentage decreases from the NCC’s statistics. Further demand over the past year has come from newer outlets as the numbers of first time motorcaravan customers have appeared. The age demographic has also lowered with younger families arriving which is always encouraging. Though this will put further strain on available stock, it at least keeps the used market ticking over. Most dealers will report that a unit in decent condition will only last a matter of days on the forecourt before being sold. Even with asking prices continuing to creep up by private selling and higher numbers of caravan dealers to. By far the most popular model type is a 4-6 berth, hopefully carrying the same number of seatbelts, priced around the £30k bracket. Some dealers are of the impression that we could see some more used stock enter the market as it feels like it could be a high changeover year. This will be welcome news as Part-Exchange deals continue to be on the slide due to rising numbers of consumer cash only deals. Popularity for the used market should continue to carry on in the same vein, especially if the new market has another tough year but the heavily discounted 2018 stock still available will give used stock some competition.

The values for this edition have been decreased from 2% for this guide due to general vehicle depreciation. For subscribers of the Glass’s caravan app, please ensure that you regularly update the current editions to receive the latest datasets. Since the July 2017, we have added over 800 previously unvalued models to our database to help you value the vehicles around you.

About the author

Jordan Conte

Jordan ConteLeisure Vehicles Editor

Jordan joined Glass’s in May 2012 as a Valuation Assistant, mainly dealing with customer valuation requests. Since then he took on the role of Assistant Car Editor before taking on the role of Leisure Vehicles Editor, in April 2016. Jordan looks after all valuations for Motorcaravans and Holiday Homes.