Pop Up market declining or staying the same?

Discussion in 'RV Industry & Camping Related News' started by LaTuFu, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. LaTuFu

    LaTuFu New Member

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    I wanted to put this question out to this forum after a discussion I had last week with a salesman at Camping World.

    I stopped in to pick up a part, decided to stroll the lot just to kill a couple of minutes. That, of course, meant I soon heard the familiar sound of the electric golf cart coming up behind me. I politely informed the guy I was not in the market for anything, just browsing/killing time. Being the good salesman, he decided to press ahead anyway. "I'm only in the market for a PUP. I'm not buying a Livin' Lite (the only ones they had on the lot that day) it isn't big enough for my needs." His response, "have you thought about a travel trailer?" Mine: "Yes, and you can't sell me one I can tow that will fit the number of people and animals we have on our trips. I'm not buying a different TV, so a TT is out of the question." I then had to explain the towing limitations of my Jeep (he really wanted to convince me a TT would be better) and that I can tow a nice HW with as many amenities as a TT, with twice the space of a TT that weighed the same amount, so I was firmly in the PUP market for the foreseeable future. He understood where I was coming from after that, so the sales push towards his shiny new TTs eased up after that.

    I asked him why they only had TTs on the lot, and no PUPs. He said the market today is people who want to be "instant campers." Back in or pull through, set the trailer down, roll out the awning, plug in to shore power and start camping. They don't want the hassle of setting up/taking down, etc.

    I get it, but at the same time...is that accurate for the market as a whole, or just my particular area? All of the local dealers within 1 hour of me have no PUPs other than a small 8 ft box, no A/C entry level PUP, the Livin' Lite, the really small trailers. No 12s, no HWs, no toy hauler decks. Are these PUPs more niche, or is the market really starting to dwindle for PUPs?

    I'm just curious what everyone else thinks. I really don't have any idea, so I thought it would make for an interesting discussion here.
     
  2. wunderfog

    wunderfog Member

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    I've gone out on 4 weekends so far this year- I see a lot of pop ups, hybrids and very small TTs. I think the smaller sizes (in general) are very popular, and will be more so because people want to combine a fuel efficient vehicle with of all the great benefits of a pop up. They probably aren't as easy to over price for a dealer....
     
  3. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    I think it increasing.
     
  4. jeffnsa

    jeffnsa Member

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    Travel trailer are really big in the oil industry areas due to a lack of housing and quick turn over of personel.
     
  5. LaTuFu

    LaTuFu New Member

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    The pop-ups you see...are they the small 8 footers, or do they range in size a lot?
     
  6. Keith Hawkins

    Keith Hawkins Active Member

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    I have noticed less and less of them on the lots. I think the reason is more that the dealers do not make as much profit from them as the do a TT, not the fact that the market is dwindling. Lets face it, a 10' PUP which opens up to a 21" unit which will sleep 6 to 8 people will cost $12 - 15k new. A TT which will sleep the same is $25 and up. A lot of moving parts and such in a PUP but just 4 walls on a TT, yes you will get more expensive stuff like leather ect in a TT but the profit margin is probably a lot more than PUP.
     
  7. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office Gold Supporting Member

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    I think the dealer is correct about society in general. Here in MN the DNR is adding more camper cabins to the parks because people want to be out in nature but they don't want the work of camping. My generation (kids of the 70s/80s) were always accused of demanding "instant gratification" but I think the generation(s) younger than myself kick that up another magnitude or three.

    I think the other issue with popups is that the new ones are so "high end" that a lower-end travel trailer is about the same price, and people perceive that as a "step up". I'd never pay $10K or whatever for a popup... and the used market is still flooded with decent ones for a fraction of that. That might not be the case in 10 years or so as today's used stock ages out.

    For what it's worth we were out at a north short MN state park this past weekend and I didn't see a single other popup. Well we did see one in the visitor's parking lot but it wasn't set up and definitely an older one. This particular campground didn't have any hookups at all, and most of the sites actually had tents. We did see a good variety of TTs and even a couple RVs though.
     
  8. JeffC

    JeffC New Member

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    With the shrinking TV abilities I don't think pups will decrease in demand. The dealers don't seem to like to mess with them. I looked at one on a lot that was soaked, every surface, because they left the windows wide open. I guess it's too much to ask that a salesman zips them up during a rain storm!
     
  9. wunderfog

    wunderfog Member

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    I see all kinds of sizes. It may be that pop ups are popular here because of the mild climate.
     
  10. LaTuFu

    LaTuFu New Member

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    Fair enough.

    I'm finally heading out this weekend for some long overdue camping of my own. I'll be interested to see how many PUPs are in the population at the SP.
     
  11. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah Gold Supporting Member

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    I want to say it's about the same it's just dealers don't want to sell them because dealers get more $$$ for the bigger beasts. However I have talked to a few people who were interested in popups but can't find dealers nearby who sell the so were willing to look at the bigger units. My worry is many dealers I think are trying to force the trend torwards the big TT and MH and may succeed in pushing popups out all together. All my dealers close to me only sell big TT and MH that I have to go out of my way to find a dealer that even has a few popups or buy used. I don't think it right but dealers are all about the bigger buck.
     
  12. adrianpglover

    adrianpglover Well-Known Member

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    In all of the Houston area, I've only found two dealers that sell PUPs. One is CW, which may have as many as 5 on the lot of 3 different models, not a lot of options on them either. The other isn't actually in the Houston metro area, but isn't too far out in Waller, TX. They keep a stock of Forrest River models on hand with various different models.

    I haven't been in the market long, but from what I can tell, PUPs seem to be either a niche market or just not as profitable, so the big dealers don't want to sell them. I can't comment on what direction the market is going because I haven't been paying attention to it until recently.

    Also remember that when a big dealer like CW makes a sale, more than likely the customer doesn't have a place to store it, so why not store it at the dealership? While you're at it, the dealership can do all the winterization/dewinterization for you just by giving them a call ahead of time. All of these services, plus repairs, mean a lot more business for the dealership. After all, where do you store your pup? Mine's in the garage, which is why I bought a pup. Remember that for every $83.33 you spend in storage fees is another $1k added to the purchase price of your camper. A TT might be cheaper initially, but after 4-5 years it swings the other way.

    I do notice that most of the PUPs I see in campgrounds tend to be older ones, mainly Fleetwood/Coleman. I do catch a Forrest River or Jayco every now and then.
     
  13. jas77450

    jas77450 New Member

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    Adrian, do you know of a good place to get my pup lubed besides camping world...I don't trust them. I live in Katy. Sorry, not meaning to change the subject.
     
  14. jas77450

    jas77450 New Member

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    Never mind Adrian, I saw your post about Toppers. Thanks.
     
  15. tigerflier

    tigerflier Member

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    Here in South GA-North Florida I am amazed at how little time a popup stays on the market. Unless the price is really high they are gone in a day or two from Craigslist.

    That may be one reason you don't see them at dealerships - the dealers don't want to put much money in them on a trade so they lowball the pup and the pup ownser says "I can get more than that for it on Craigslist" so they bump it up a couple hundred over the dealer's low-ball price and sell it on Craigslist - at what is still essentially a low-ball price.
     
  16. BelchFire

    BelchFire I speak fluent vise-grip

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    I would say that the sentiment he opined is accurate for an area about 6' radius from the tips of his arms. He's clueless. PUPs are all about a transition to many people. How many first time owners just came from a tent? I'd say most....

    For me, it's a compromise with Momma! I want a tent and she wants a potty and mattress. It's only a PUP for us......

    That being said, I agree with all the profit margin comments above. There is plenty of market for them, but if the dealers don't have them, many people can be persuaded to opt up to a TT and I think that's probably a major factor in the relative scarcity on the lots. And I hate it......
     
  17. mickaqua

    mickaqua Member

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    It would be very interesting to find out just how many new popup campers were sold by each manufacturer in each of the last few years. [;)]
     
  18. PepperWolf

    PepperWolf Member

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    i had a similar experience when I started looking for my pup. I had been looking for the next step up from tent camping and wanted something small enough to tow behind my SUV and after researching online and looking I realized that what I needed was a pup.
    So when I went to a dealer and told the Salesman (on the job three days) what I wanted he tried to talk me out of it. Too much hassle, takes too long to step up, a TT or RV would be much better blah blah blah .....
    Long story shorted I won the argument by going to another dealer and getting exactly what I wanted. Now that I have one I've noticed pops here and there including a few for sale by private owners along the side of the road.
    I believe it all depends on what someone wants and here in Fl it's a lot of RVs and TTs with a few pups tucked along the side so no one really sees the pups and the benefits of having one until they've come across a website like this and sees what all they can do.
     
  19. catseye

    catseye all I remember is dirt...sky...dirt...ambulance

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    IMHO, I think due to the prices of TT being so close, the convenience factor has a lot to do with making pups more and more a niche market. I can get the advantages from a dealer perspective, too. Not that it's right, but I get it. Also, I don't see much movement from TT's to pups. Folks seem to move from pups to TT's....... There may also be a factor of the aging population, blah blah.....
     
  20. handdydaddy

    handdydaddy Active Member

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    I have a few different dealers all an hour away in different directions. One of the dealers keeps a few of a couple different models in stock and actually sells them fairly well. A couple of them stock multiple of the same model and over price them and of course don't really sell them. One lot only keeps trade ins and actually told me there isn't any money in them and people weren't interested in them anymore.

    I will say that all but one dealer seemed to look down on us for looking at pop ups. Almost felt like I wasn't worth their time and was a hassle.
     

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