Did you know that in 2021 the UK, Denmark and the Netherlands were the only countries in Europe to sell more caravans than motorhomes? (source: Registrations of new Leisure Vehicles, January – December 2021: European Caravan Federation.) – see table below.
In most countries in Europe, motorhomes comfortably outsell caravans. That makes motorhomes more popular than caravans in Europe with 181,304 new motorhomes registered in Europe (including UK) in 2021 compared to 78,739 new caravans. That’s a big difference.
Interesting, isn’t it? I find the differences in the markets quite fascinating.
For example, Italy has a tiny market for caravans (568 in 2021) compared to motorhomes (7,113), and although France is one of the top three markets for caravan sales (7,446 in 2021), it sold over four times as many motorhomes (30,822) in 2021. It’s the same in Germany (the biggest market in Europe) with 24,718 new caravans registered in 2021 compared to 81,420 motorhomes.
It’s good to note that every market in Europe increased sales in 2021, except Germany, Norway and Portugal. As already stated, Germany is the biggest market with a total of 106,138 new leisure vehicles registered in 2021, followed by France (38,268), the UK (32,734 – provisional figures), the Netherlands (11,692) and Switzerland (10,185). No other countries have sales that go into five figures, although Sweden gets close with 8,935 sales in 2021.
So, why do motorhomes outsell caravans by so much? And why was it the other way around in the UK, Denmark and the Netherlands in 2021?
Of course, the classification of motorhomes includes a wide range of types, including, presumably, campervans – a sector that’s seeing the strongest growth.
Is it differing cultures and infrastructure?
Mainland Europe has Aires/Stellplatz camping locations for motorhomes (only) to use, which cost a fraction of the amount charged by staying on a campsite. I’ve always thought that makes a motorhome more appealing, but they’re a bigger outlay in the first place.
There are definitely cultural differences to consider. British caravans have different styles and layout preferences to their European counterparts. We’re catching on to the idea of a being caravan placed on a seasonal pitch in the UK, but that use/concept is still much more widely seen on the other side of the channel.
Could it be the weather? Countries in Europe that get more sunshine make it more tempting to spend more time outside. Countries like the UK tend to get more rain so we might stay inside more, in which case the extra living space (and warmth) of a caravan interior could be more tempting. But that doesn’t explain countries like Sweden or Norway that are further north which still sell more motorhomes than caravans.
Maybe people on mainland Europe travel more so find a motorhome quicker and easier? Do we have more of an island mentality in the UK to keep us favouring caravans? Not everyone is comfortable driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, which will definitely put some people off (as well as the cost of ferry, etc).
Image? Do motorhomes have a cooler and more appealing image than caravans? Does the tought of towing still put people off caravans?
I’d love to know your thoughts.