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Travel Trailer Toy Haulers on a Tear

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Travel trailers have been one of the prime participants in and recipients of the RV industry’s much-ballyhooed, post-recession recovery – and that growth extends to travel trailer toy haulers.

Though representing just 5 percent of the total travel trailer retail market in 2016, travel trailer toy haulers continued their meteoric rise, as retail sales across North America by year-end totaled 13,678 units, or 89.76 percent above 2012 levels, according to Grand Rapids, Mich.-based market data firm Statistical Surveys.

Travel trailer toy hauler sales for all of 2016 grew by 14.4 percent over 2015, slightly outperforming all travel trailer sales, which grew by 12.3 percent over the same period, Stat Surveys data shows. (Of note: The toy hauler figure includes specialty units, such as horse trailers.)

Perhaps to no one’s surprise, industry titans Forest River (49.3 percent market share) and Thor Industries (25.4 percent share) continue to dominate the market in 2016, according to Stat Surveys. Forest River’s top performing brands were XLR, Stealth and Work and Play, while Thor’s top performers were Octane, Cyclone and Stryker.

Eclipse RV’s Attitude – No. 5 on the Stat Surveys’ list – was the only model outside the Big 2 to crack Stat Surveys’ Top 10 travel trailer toy hauler model list. Still, this segment of the market has seen a lot of movement in recent years, with multiple RV makers entering and exiting the market and current players jockeying for position.

Notably, those non-Big 2 players, such as Eclipse RV, Pacific Coachworks, Genesis Supreme RV, the now defunct EverGreen RV, have slowly chipped away at Forest River’s and Thor’s travel trailer toy hauler market share. In 2012, Forest River and Thor owned an 82.4 percent share, but that percentage shrunk to 74.7 percent by the end of 2016.

Meanwhile, travel trailer toy hauler sales are slowly gaining on those of fifth wheel toy haulers, traditionally the dominant player in the segment, Stat Surveys data shows. In 2012, fifth wheel toy hauler sales comprised 55.1 percent of the toy hauler market, while travel trailer toy hauler sales comprised 44.9 percent of the market. In 2016, fifth wheel toy hauler sales comprised 53.4 percent of the toy hauler market, while travel trailer toy hauler sales were 46.6 percent.

Stat Surveys data shows another notable trend in travel trailer toy haulers: Price creep in the past five years, prompted by consumers’ desire for more “stuff” in their toy hauler. Specifically, Stat Surveys shows that the prime selling range for travel trailer toy haulers has grown from $20,000 to $25,000 in 2012 to $30,000 to $35,000 in 2016.

Read the rest in the May 2017 issue of RV PRO … available in print and online!

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