Monday, May 23, 2022

2022 Business Predictions: Chris Lowe, Managing Director at Kimberley – The Caravan and Motorhome People

It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites the region’s business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead. 

It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this now for over 30 years.

Here we speak to Chris Lowe, Managing Director at Kimberley – The Caravan and Motorhome People.

During the past 12 months the pandemic has definitely brought to light the holiday opportunities and escapism offered by caravans and motorhomes. The alternatives to foreign travel has amplified the necessity for the holiday industry to offer up extra camping and caravanning opportunities in and around the UK, with pop-up campsites in particular becoming a go to for young families needing an affordable getaway.

With the ability to explore the outdoors and get back to leisure activities, bookings for outdoor holidays have increased by as much as 273 per cent compared to two years ago.

The new market size for leisure vehicles has grown significantly since the UK lockdown ended. The current prediction is around 16,000 new units produced, up from 14,000 18 months ago, which is a 15 per cent increase. However, without the current supply chain issues and manufacturer production capabilities, it is expected that this figure would have been even higher.

With a new variant of the coronavirus at the fore, many consumers will be considering what this means for spring-time pursuits, whether they are retirees looking to travel, or parents hoping to entertain the kids during half-term and Easter.

Therefore, my first prediction is that the ability ‘self-contained’ caravanning units bring will continue to be ever pertinent in 2022 for both the older generation (who have been especially cautious due to the increased risk that the virus poses to them) and for families hesitant that they no longer wish to travel overseas and potentially lose money if more restrictions could be enforced early on in the year.

Likewise, a motorhome symbolises retirement with the freedom to go wherever you like, whenever you like. The coronavirus has pushed forward many people’s desire to retire, and we expect an increase in the desire for one vehicle such as a motorhome or campervan rather than a car and caravan combination because they are easier to drive and quicker to move from a pitch.

With a planned retirement pot of 25 per cent allowed to be taken tax-free once you’re 55 years old and current interest rates being so low, this has provided a good sum for people to consider investing into a vehicle that will provide years freedom to explore areas of the UK and Europe that may previously have been out of reach.

Social media is amplifying the freedom and cost savings that DIY van conversions are bringing, while younger generations and couples have been attracted to compact vehicles that bring a community feel. A smaller vehicle also means these are most financially viable as they can be used as commuters for the everyday trips we make. You only need to look at Instagram to see the small camping communities forming. There are over 286,000 posts tagged with #camperconversion alone, and I predict this will continue to rise in 2022.

Finally, there is no question that relaxation through hobbies and vacation will better support our mental health. Google’s ‘A Year in Trends’ recently reported that ‘how to maintain mental health’ was searched more globally than ever before and often a van conversion or any compact motorhome can facilitate the ability to getaway for our own mental wellbeing. With this in mind, it is predicted that more buyers will choose these types of vacations moving during 2022 as it will benefit their agenda to explore new surroundings and presents the opportunity to experience new lifestyles, such as rambling, golf, fishing and cycling much more easily.

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