Winnebago’s $4.3 Billion Backlog of RVs Just Keeps Ballooning
Between delays and shortages, it seems new buyers won’t be getting their RVs any time soon.
In 2020, America’s spring break vacations were canceled. Apparently, while we all sat at home wondering what in the world was happening, people started dreaming about owning an RV and escaping from it all. That turned out to be a happy outcome for the RV industry; camping vehicles began selling out all over the place.
Big RV builder Winnebago recently released its sales numbers for the second quarter of its 2022 fiscal year, and the figures are staggering. Millennial and Gen-X buyers are the driving force behind its current growth, including a 38.7% increase over the same period for 2021 and a gross profit increase of 38.3%. Executives at Winnebago must be feeling pretty good about now as the backlog for RV orders is topping $4 billion, ensuring paychecks for the company will be flowing for quite a while. That backlog number includes $1.87 billion for towable units, $2.21 billion in motorhomes, and $278,000 in marine products.
That’s great news for the RV industry. Buyers, however, may be disappointed that their dream camping vehicle (maybe even an amphibious one) may not arrive for quite a while. Competitor Thor Industries (shoutout to my hometown of Elkhart, Indiana, where Thor is based) reported earlier in March that its backlog for the second fiscal quarter of 2022 increased by more than 60% for a total of $17.73 billion. Prices are going up as well, but neither delays or price hikes seem to be damping enthusiasm for the RV market. Not even rising fuel costs are slowing it down so far.
"The industry does not expect current prices at the pump to curb business anytime soon," RV Industry Association spokesperson James Boyle told Reuters. "Many RVs are used for short trips and tailgating, rather than long road trips."
Labor shortages, supply chain issues, chip shortages (sigh), and parts delays are all in play here and affecting RV companies’ ability to fill the demand quickly. In December, Thor recognized that inventory was low and announced that its dealers may not be fully restocked until 2023. If you're a buyer, take heart: companies like RVShare have popped up in the last few years, giving the option to rent someone else's towable or motorhome while you wait for yours to arrive.
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