The great British holiday is having a major impact on the UK caravan industry with market leaders the Swift Group announcing a credit crunching £20 million of sales of touring caravans and motorhomes at the National Boat, Caravan and Outdoor Show held at the NEC, Birmingham last week.
Growing interest, particularly in touring caravans, is seeing a large number of families turning their backs on European holidays, which now cost more due to the strength of the Euro, and returning to holiday in the UK.
After a difficult Autumn, Swift, which manufacturers caravans and motorhomes at Cottingham in East Yorkshire, has seen sales in January and February returning to and then beating the levels of 2008.
“We started to see sales recover in January when we achieved £3.5 million worth of sales at shows in Glasgow and Manchester, which was over 12% up on the same shows last year. Our performance at Birmingham has been even more encouraging with sales nearly 14% up on our touring caravans,” Commercial Director Nick Page commented.
“We adopted a strategy of launching several new models, two of which were specifically designed for families, at the show, and supported all our ranges with a strong financial incentive to buy. People clearly still have money to spend and by providing the right overall package we have managed to kick start our season despite the economic climate,” Mr Page continued.
Strong demand for the companies touring caravans, manufactured under the Swift, Sterling and Sprite brands, was supported by larger than predicted sales of Swift, Bessacarr and Autocruise motorhomes.
“Big ticket items like luxury cars have seen a substantial drop in sales, so it was encouraging to see that demand for our motorhomes, which cost from £30,000 to £60,000, was only slightly behind last year. In this market customers clearly felt more comfortable buying at prices that are unlikely to be repeated for a long time than leaving their savings in the bank earning virtually zero interest.” Mr Page added.
Swift predict that markets will continue to be challenging but this sales success demonstrates that people will still spend on their holidays and perhaps this is one market that is seeing some signs of both new interest and recovery.