Caravans: why they are selling like 'gold dust' in Lancashire
Lancashire caravan dealers say they are struggling to keep up with demand from buyers amid a boom in stay-in-the-UK holidays.
The combination of increased demand, stop start production and fewer part exchanges means that caravans have become like gold dust, according to those in the trade.
Steve Howard, general manager of Stewart Longton Caravans in Chorley says that at the moment he struggles to keep caravans for 24 hours: “We get a van on Monday, we’ve sold it by Tuesday.
“Sometimes we will have a new van pull into the court, a customer spots it, likes it and it is sold before we’ve even had chance to list it.
“Normally we have up to 80 used caravans on site, but because of demand, I think we only have about three at the moment.”
For some businesses, the pandemic has taken its toll, but for the caravan industry, lockdown’s restrictions has only fuelled the interest in self-sufficient holidaying.
Last year, The National Caravan Club said that sales rose by 71 per cent in July 2020. 37 per cent of buyers were by people who have never owned a caravan before and 34 per cent of those buyers were under 44.
Adam Hulme, sales director Preston Caravans and Motorhomes says: “We have had an influx of customers who are new to caravanning, but because of this, we are doing a lot more ‘straight sales’ if you like, rather than part exchanges.
“This means that there are less used caravans coming back into the market and making both new and used caravans hard to get hold of and preowned prices are going sky high.
“We can’t sell the same number of caravans purely because we can’t source them.
“We currently have maybe a month’s left worth of stock and another few months left in the season.”
Experiences like this have been echoed across the country. Steve says: “From June 6 2020 when we reopened up until when we closed again at the end of October due to the second lockdown, we probably sold a similar number of caravans that we would do in a normal year’s trading.
“The level of inquiry was huge because of obviously the original lockdown and therefore people’s inability to fly abroad.
“There was a realisation for a lot of people that they needed to start looking to holiday in this country.
“This has only continued this year and in 2021’s lockdown, which happened off season, we sold nearly 40 units when the gates were closed.”
The market for both new and used caravans is moving faster than ever before.
For anyone looking to buy a caravan this summer, Adam has some advice : “Don’t dillydally, if you see a van you like, take a punt and buy it.
“It might not be there tomorrow.”