Americans Rush To Buy RVs
The coronavirus pandemic has led to countless changes across many facets of everyday life. Some changes, such as working from home, were likely inevitable at some point in the future even without the coronavirus outbreak.
However, one increasingly hot commodity as a result of the coronavirus may have been hard to predict for many. Following a boom and then subsequent bust after the financial crisis, sales of recreational vehicles are once again surging.
With many Americans hesitant to fly, stay in hotels and eat in restaurants, RVs are turning into the new preferred way to get away. Wholesale shipments of RVs totaled 40,462 last month, a 10.8% increase from the same period a year earlier and the highest monthly total since October 2018, according to the RV Industry Association.
June's total marks a quick turnaround from April and May, when shipments fell 82% and 30%, respectively, from the same period a year earlier.
"We didn’t anticipate this turn being as strong as it has been," president of the RV Industry Association Craig Kirby said. "People don’t want to fly, they don’t want to stay in a hotel. In an RV, you can cook your own meals and sleep in your own bed."
RV makers are also betting that people will begin to use RVs for work. Kirby said RV manufacturers are developing RVs "with dedicated workspaces that allow for the desks and other systems to be stowed away once work is over."
First time buyers are increasingly making up a larger portion of RV purchases. The RV Industry Association surveyed RV dealers and found that between 50% to 80% are first-time buyers, compared to just 25% to 35% during the same period last year.
"All dealers are reporting a high mix of first-time buyers as evident by lack of trade-in units," Wells Fargo analyst Tim Conder said. "Dealers are saying as high as 80% of customers are first-time buyers ... vs. the typical 25% mix. The pandemic is driving the purchase decision for new-entrants."
The rush to RVs has been a boon to publicly traded RV manufacturers such as Thor Industries and Winnebago Industries. Shares of Thor Industries and Winnebago Industries are up more than 59% and 21%, respectively, so far this year compared to a gain of just 0.4% for the S&P 500.
"We have seen an incredible rebound in retail demand and dealer demand since early May across all our businesses," Winnebago Industries CEO Michael Happe said last month.
With people antsy to get away and a return to normalcy likely still a long way away, RV sales appear poised to show continued strength.
Netflix can help your credit score. Consumers can now add their Netflix payments to their Experian Boost account to help increase their credit scores. Experian, which will allow you to add 24 months of Netflix payment history, is also working on adding additional streaming providers to the service. "We know consumers are watching more television, and we also know that many consumers are also cutting cable and moving to streaming services, so it's the right time for us to look at including a service like this," D2C president at Experian Consumer Services Jeff Softley said.
Under Armour faces scrutiny. Under Armour disclosed the company, as well as founder Kevin Plank and CFO David Bergman, have received Wells Notices from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over the company's disclosures regarding "pull forward" sales from 2015 to 2016. The notice signals the SEC plans to bring enforcement actions unless the recipients of the notice can explain why they shouldn't be filed. Under Armour said they have been cooperating with the SEC and Justice Department since 2017, while previously saying in November "The company firmly believes that its accounting practices and disclosures were appropriate."
Target follows Walmart. Target is following Walmart's announcement last week by also announcing they will remain closed on Thanksgiving Day this year. Target is telling shoppers to begin their holiday shopping in October this year instead. "Let's face it: Historically, deal hunting and holiday shopping can mean crowded events, and this isn't a year for crowds," Target said. Target also announced it will increase the number of products available for curbside pickup and delivery to more than 20,000 items ahead of this year's holiday season.
BMW expands electric vehicle lineup. BMW announced it will expand the popular 5-series sedan to its lineup of electric vehicles, although a release data was not provided. BMW said by next year it will have five fully electric vehicles, while by 2023 it will have 25 electric vehicles with half of them being fully electric. "In ten years, the goal is to have a total of more than seven million electrified BMW Group vehicles on the roads – around two thirds of them with a fully-electric drive train," BMW said.
Google employees can stay home. Google will allow employees to work from home for an additional year as they are now not expected to return to at least July 2021. The decision from Google CEO Sundar Pichai was reportedly "swayed in part by sympathy for employees with families to plan for uncertain school years that may involve at-home instruction, depending on geography." Google had previously planned to have employees return to their offices at the beginning of next year.