Demand remains strong, although cost of living pressures increase for caravan and campers
Caravan Industry Association of Australia today released the Caravan Industry Consumer Sentiment Report August 2022. The report provides insights into the opinions and travel intentions of Australian caravan and campers.
The research was conducted in July as Australians are starting to experience the outcome of multiple interest rates rises in recent months, increased inflation impacting cost of living, and another wave of COVID-19 related hospitalisations and health recommendations.
Cost of living expenses became a significant trend in July, with households feeling less financially comfortable compared to the previous survey periods. This aligns with broader consumer confidence levels which has declined over the previous 12 months.
Household financial pressures are beginning to filter into travel purchasing and behaviour considerations with consumers recalibrating the factors they consider when making travel decisions. Moreover, to mitigate rising pressures on household budgets, staying longer in one place and travelling shorter distances emerge as likely strategies. Importantly, despite rising cost of living expenses, most Australians surveyed are not prepared to delay or cancel future trips.
Despite the financial pressures, caravan and campers are feeling the most optimistic since the pandemic begun as a sense of normality returns. However, the research indicates that although Australians are prepared to move forward, COVID-19 is still a significant factor in their travel consideration. For the over 55-year segment, the concern of COVID-19 remains their number one consideration in future travel. Compared to under 55 years, cost of living pressures are their main concern.
The share of respondents intending to take more holidays in 2022 compared to 2021 has decreased while more people (49%) are now indicating they will be taking about the same amount of holidays as the previous year. This suggests that Australians are beginning to ‘return to normal’ with their travel routines as post lockdown demand surges become a thing of the past.
Despite the challenging environment, Australians’ affinity for caravan and camping remains strong. This is reflected in the high number of caravan and camping trips booked for the rest of the year, with 79% of respondents actively planning to go caravan and camping in the next 6 months. On their next holiday, caravan and campers were keen to explore Australia, experience something different to usual life and to learn something about place and people.
Consumers continue to remain cautious regarding international holidays, cruising, and city breaks. Although, confidence has slightly increased in these experiences from the previous surveys. With international borders reopened, 56% of respondents have no plans to travel internationally.
The key messages from the research:
- Despite a decline in related media and government measures, COVID-19 firmly remains in the purchasing consideration of consumers. It is important industry continues to communicate with consumers on health and cleaning measures that promote a covid-safe experience.
- Cost of living is a concern for caravan and campers, especially youth and family markets. However, as we have seen over recent years, Australians will continue to travel however they will change how they go about it. Promoting budget friendly options such as shoulder season travel, duration and midweek deals may help support some segments.
- Australians are seeking experiences when they travel around the country. Although connection to family and nature are pillars of the caravan and camping lifestyle, there has been an uptick in demand for new destinations and experiencing something unique.