July 2018 year to date figures released by the National Caravan Council (NCC) show production of 14,208 units, an increase of 4.6% on the same period in 2017. The current moving annual total (MAT) also shows an increase, of 6.4%, with 23,258 units produced. Dispatches onto holiday parks in the same period continues its growth, with 13,435 dispatched, representing 4% growth. The current MAT shows 21,068 equating to a 1.9% increase. The statistics acknowledge small levels of growth in units dispatched to parks, despite a harsh winter affecting the market.
A record summer was required to salvage business from what was a destructive winter for the market. The dramatic winter weather cost parks pitch renewals and prospective customers. Summer temperatures soared and customers will be likely returning in 2019. However, ultimately it looks as if the 17/18 winter caused too much damage with the market on a slow decline, felt by parks, manufacturers and dealers.
As the 2018 season closes and 2019 starts, park owners report that things feel a little too quiet. Manufacturers are offering further incentives to entice increased orders. However, for the first time for a long while, unsold 2018 stock is readily available no doubt hindering new stock orders.
Parks have reacted to this by continuing to hold their stock for longer. Instead of purchasing new stock, they are encouraging customers into younger used units. Feedback from the industry has been clear; the majority feel that economic factors are now the main hindrance to sales since the weather warmed up.
Unsurprisingly, many dealers are blaming Brexit as the main culprit behind cautious consumer spending. Additionally, recent months have seen the slowdown of eligible people cashing in pensions to order new holiday homes or upgrade existing units. Dealers suggest that other factors affecting sales include the football world cup and temperatures too warm for potential customers to see what stock was available. Glass’s contacts from the hire market report a positive season with the fleet order target achieved within a sector of the market that is booming.
Further positive news shows an increased number of quality used units re-entering the market with the majority featuring double-glazing and central heating. Manufacturers have fitted this specification for the past six years, now rarely producing stock without these features.
The market hopes the grey skies over the HERCMA show at Beaulieu are not a metaphor for what could happen in 2019. If the weather through winter 18/19 is less fierce and Brexit is resolved amicably, the market has a solid foundation with the potential for another year of growth.
Due to the market not fully recovering from an inconsistent year and continued caution heading into the autumn, values for this edition will decrease by 2%.