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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    Understood on all of the great points discussed.

    I guess my question is, who is buying pups today? There is still a pretty healthy market for them on CL and RV Trader, from what I can see. RV shows, maybe?
     
  2. Joe MM

    Joe MM New Member

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    I'd say that perhaps the manufacturers and dealers are possibly pushing the market more toward TT's vs PU's because of profit margins and that the aging/baby boomer population is looking for the more convenient camping option and probably has the money to do it that way. Two points, I know a major dealer in the Atlanta area said they will stop selling PU's and I understand a new, indoor only RV storage facility is being built in the Lawrenceville/hwy 316 area that is one of those full service deals. You call to pick up ur RV and it is given to you at the front door, cleaned, gassed up, full propane, etc, ready-to-go. That caters to the current and future RV/TT campers. They want the convenience, they have the money. - there you have a market. It's still a tent with wheels for me!
     
  3. Running Wolf

    Running Wolf Member

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    Finding a dealer locally, in the heart of the rv capitol of the world, is limited to say the least. Out of the four remaining, the only one that has 2 Vikings on the lot, isn't intresested in opening them up. He stated to me, "there all same, different floor plans. Read the brochure, it has all the info you need to know. When these 2 are gone I will never have another pop up on my lot, won't even give a dime for trade." He turned and went back to his office.
    The 'authozied' Rockwood dealer, anout 15 miles south states go to the factory show room for viewing, pick one out, come back and he would do the paperwork. Next closest 'authorized' dealer is 350+ miles away.
    Meanwhile, Norco Inc hass so many frame orders the employees are working overtime every week, have worked every Saturday for the past year, have had to build a second paint line booth, ordered a new fiber optic lasar, hiring more drivers to deliever the frames and maybe signing a contract with another pop up manufaturer. A couple hours ago I was told this week rumor from production office, they may be working Sunday.
    The manufactures are producing them in mass and there is no slowing them down in the forseen future. The city of Elkhart is attempting to anex property near the Norco Plant on 6th street, antisipating industrial growth.
    It boils down to the dealers and their greed. They pay only slightly more for the TT than they do the pop ups, but the profit margin is far more appealing. The dealers will tell you the pop up market is vanishing, while Forest River believes the 'fold down' market is stronger than ever and getting stronger.
    My oppinion, pay 15-20k for a miniture mobile home that sleeps 4, or 6-8k for a camper that sleeps 6-8, I'll take the camper...
     
  4. gruss

    gruss Active Member

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    Exactly, it's a niche. We are a family of 5, and we usually have at least 1 guest for part of the stay plus the dog comes with. Anything that can sleep that many people was to big for our tow vehicle (or waaaaay to cramped for me). I grew up camping in a pop up so owning one now didn't scare me and we can easily tow it with little stress to a daily driver.

    I actually see quite a few pop ups around here, and A frames seem to be multiplying exponentially.

    Camping world is looking for 1 time customer big $, at least their sales guys are. They don't plan on being there to long. Not saying don't go there, it can be used to your advantage depending on what you want but a good sales guy can sell the fact that "you can tow this with your minivan" or Your MPG will barely drop towing this". so it's the small $ amount attached is why they don't push them.

    Glad I bought mine where I did, I like those guys. Sales guy flat out said he wanted to give me what I wanted so when I didn't need all those beds I'd come see him to buy something easier to set up.
     
  5. tigerflier

    tigerflier Member

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    FYI: If you want to compare the size of the markets, Here are the delivery figures first quarter this year according to the RVIA:

    Folding Camp Trailers Travel Trailer 5th Wheel Truck Campers Total
    Jan 80 1800 580 20 2480
    Feb 70 2020 680 30 2800
    Mar 110 2320 780 30 3240
    260 6140 2040 80 8520

    [table][tr][td]Shipment Trends: [/td] [td] Shipments of all RVs (motorhomes, travel trailers, sport utility RVs, truck campers and folding camping trailers) totaled 285,749 units in 2012 — a 13.2% increase above the previous year total. Forecasts for 2013 see additional gains of 7.5%.
    [/td] [/tr] [tr] [td] [/td] [td] [/td] [/tr] [tr] [td] Popularity: [/td] [td]Today a record 9 million RVs are on the roads in the United States, a substantial increase in ownership over the past decade. According to a recent study by the University of Michigan, “the steady gain in ownership reflects a strong and enduring appeal of the RV lifestyle.”[/td] [/tr] [tr] [td]
    [/td] [td]
    [/td] [/tr] [tr] [td] Owners by Age: [/td] [td]RV owners aged 35 to 54 posted the largest percentage gains in ownership over the past decade. Importantly, ownership rates rise quickly and remain at high levels across all age groups until owners were above the age of 75 years.[/td][/tr][/table]
    source: http://www.rvia.org/?esid=shipments
     
  6. tigerflier

    tigerflier Member

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    so new popups represented a little over 3% of the new units sold. That tells you a lot about dealer inventories but doesn't answer the chicken or the egg question
     
  7. tinybluetj

    tinybluetj New Member

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    To answer the question "who is buying pop up these days?"...ME! LOL. I just bought (@ 3 weeks ago) a new 2016 Jayco. I wanted a PUP due to my TV, and I like canvas. My oldest used to love camping, but Dad got the truck, and I got the big TT- so I traded up! I bought new for the piece of mind of the warranties (and the sale of the TT more then paid for it!)- I know what has and has not been done to my PUP. If I had a larger TV, I probably would have opted for a TT with a potty and less set up, maintenance as a single mom, but my kids think the PUP is "the cat's meow"; it is something other then four walls and a bed, and they love that- it is the best thing ever in their eyes, so that makes it the best option for us!

    Here is my (2 year) buying experience in a nutshell:

    1. For the most part, I was treated pretty poorly once people found out I was looking at a PUP. (One guy actually suggested I "find a man to buy me a real RV" [:(!] His manager was not amused either). I was told by multiple dealers that there is no profit margin in a PUP. The salesmen make next to nothing on them- no motivation. Two dealers that didn't act like I had the plague, both admitted that they sell pups to encourage repeat business, when we trade up! LOL! One dealer told me "Hey an RV is an RV. We don't care what you buy, as long you like it and it's from us! They carried two or three brands, but not Palomino, which was literally 20 miles away- thought that was funny! (I ended up buying there!)

    2. I agree with the above statement about most units on the lots being smaller 8 foot boxes. I was told by one dealer that most pup buyers have smaller vehicles that cant tow the larger pups anyway. They do get some in, but they sit on the lot longer (interestingly enough, all his 10 ft boxes were sold!). Guy said they just up sell those folks....

    3. I find Running Wolf's observations hilarious, as I drove from VA to Coldwater, MI to buy my PUP. [;)] I could not find the size and options I wanted any closer, unless I paid a premium and dealt with a dealer with an awful reputation. (BTW- highly recommend Haylett RV! Talk to Gene, he rocks, and a couple of their folks have PUPS of their own.)
    I do think a combination of salesmen and lot available options pressure buyers. [:!] Nobody around here puts brakes on the lighter weight PUPs- it's flat, so they think there is no need. Electric brakes are the reason I drove 13 hours to buy a PUP. I am guessing not many people will bother with that, and just look at TTs that some salesman will tell them they can tow. (One guy tried to tell me I could tow a TT with a dry weight of 3000lbs with my Jeep TJ (2000lb capacity, and a short wheelbase to boot!) [:!]

    4. I do think it is a niche market. People who might otherwise buy a PUP are (for the most part) talked out of it-sometimes for the better, sometimes not. People like me, who do their own research and stick to their guns will be fine, but IMHO the dealerships are shaping the market...

    LONG LIVE [PU] [LOL]
     
  8. bldmtnrider

    bldmtnrider Member

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    Personally I think there are a lot of reasons why pup sales are low.

    First, to the salesman's point, there are a lot of people that want to pull up, drop the trailer and be camping. Think baby boomers.

    Second, I think there is a growing population of people that are bad with money (that didn't learn their lesson during the recession) going out and financing the big trucks, big trailers and as many toys that they can fit in them. I was shocked at how many young people were out in Moab over Memorial Day with BIG toy haulers, RZRs and 1 brand new 1 ton trucks. These guys were not doctors or lawyers either.

    Third, gas prices are low so the extra wind resistance isn't that big of a hit to the wallet.

    Fourth, maybe it is because I am somewhat new to camping in a trailer, but I am always shocked at the complete lack of oversight on overloaded vehicles. This is primarily due to salesmen selling right up the published tow limit, owners not understanding what tow rating and payload rating mean, and the state patrol not stopping overloaded vehicles. Can't tell you how many people I saw towing TT with undersized vehicles.

    I think PUPs will make a comeback once gas prices go up a bit but it might be a few more years before you see more of them on the lots.
     
  9. LaTuFu

    LaTuFu New Member

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    You must be down on the coast to think Virginia is flat!
     
  10. travisma

    travisma New Member

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    If you go to Fort Wilderness, they have 799 campsites.

    Of those 90 are designated for tent/PUP just because they don't have sewer connections. You can put a tent/PUP on any site if you are willing to pay the extra $$.

    I have also seen hybrids and small TT in the PUP loops.

    So by looking at these #'s RV's and TT are definitely more popular.

    On I-4 coming from Tampa you pass 3 large dealers Lazy Days, Camping World, General, and one smaller dealer.

    Now they may have the PUPS hidden in the back of the lots, but between those 4, I don't think I've ever seen more that 4 or 5 total on display that you can see from the Interstate.

    Are they dying in popularity?

    For someone that is getting older, probably. They probably have more $$ so they can afford a bigger TV and a TT. Like someone said, back in, drop the levelers, unhook and you're camping.

    But for the younger or less affluent crowd that can't afford $40K for a TV and another $50K on a TT there is still a PUP market.

    And for the loving couples they now have the teardrop market.

    We bought a used 86 Coleman Columbia for $800 about 16 months ago and have only used it twice so far, but I felt that I've gotten my $$ worth out of it already. If I had a new PUP or TT in the driveway not being used and paying for it each month I would not be a happy camper.
     
  11. tinybluetj

    tinybluetj New Member

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    Looking at the Bay now! LOL!
     
  12. travisma

    travisma New Member

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    I think the old hard sided Apaches would be a good solution nowadays. They were a little ahead of their time.

    They are light like a PUP, but seem to set up easier and you don't have the soaked canvas issue taking it down in the rain.

    Saw one at Fort Wilderness. Was in great shape.
     
  13. ChocoChock01

    ChocoChock01 On the road aagaain See Rallies below;

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    The other market to look at for numbers is the resale market.
    PUP for many are a transition to the larger RV market. So there may be a large turnover of PUPs that aren't being tracked.
     
  14. tfischer

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

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    I had no idea those existed until I saw one on CL last year. Really intrigued me when I saw how light they were.

    Did they have issues, or why is nobody still making something like that?
     
  15. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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  16. adrianpglover

    adrianpglover Well-Known Member

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    I saw that link too. Thought it was interesting that the peak for folding campers was 3400 in March of '07 with the total for the industry that month being 37100. The same period last year saw 33700 for the industry and only 1200 for the folding market? What a change has happened.

    And then there's this chart which shows that '06 was the peak year in terms of both shipments and total dollar value and the market is still down about 26% from that point. I don't care what industry you're talking about, that's a big difference. Also, this decline happened prior to all the housing market mess in '08.

    Can't find it right now, but I do remember seeing some data stating that Coleman/Fleetwood/FTCA at one point had 36% or better of the market share in foldables, but as I said, I can't find the data right now. I think it's somewhere in the thread asking what brands are popular on here, but there's too many posts to go through at the moment.
     
  17. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    Some of the Fleetwood sales brochures have a bar chart showing Fleetwood vs the competition.

    page 4
    http://www.popupportal.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=3064
     
  18. adrianpglover

    adrianpglover Well-Known Member

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    I have to say that Fleetwood/FTCA did a much better job at their sales brochures than CNW is currently doing with Somerset.
     
  19. ChocoChock01

    ChocoChock01 On the road aagaain See Rallies below;

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    this thread indicates the combined Fleetwood/Coleman ~35% existing market share (PopUpPortal) is being maintained:
    http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=77839.msg965376#msg965376
     
  20. JeffC

    JeffC New Member

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    Maybe part of the market decline is a result of leaking roofs and access to that information via the internet? Popups have been around far longer than compact cars and high fuel prices. In the 60's it was normal to pull one with a full sized pick-up and they were less money. People didn't finance recreation as much so price mattered. Today it's "how much a month" with no awareness of total price.
     

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