Some dealers exceeded their sales goals during the recent Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa while others “had a tough time getting names (signatures) on the dotted line,” according to Dave Kelly, marketing director for the Florida RV Trade Association, sponsors of the event.
“I don’t think I talked to any dealers who were down in the dumps,” Kelly said. “Some dealers did extremely well while others were a little behind where they wanted to be.”
Attendance was good at the major retail show, which began Jan. 15 and ended Sunday of this week. “Just over 43,000 (people,) just a tad, less than 1,000” below the 2002 total turned out for this year’s SuperShow, Kelly said.
Attendance was slightly lower because Tampa’s professional football team was involved in a championship game Sunday afternoon and the weather was chilly with temperatures below 40 degrees some mornings, Kelly said.
Dealers cited the obvious reasons for the consumer caution, Kelly said. They include a possible war with Iraq, the recent increase in gasoline prices because of political turmoil in major oil producer, Venezuela, and the fact the U.S. economy “is not rebounding as fast as many people would like,” Kelly said.
At the SuperShow a year ago, many consumers “decided to treat themselves” after re-evaluating their situations following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he added. But this year, consumers appeared to be “back to the old wait and see.”
However, this year’s SuperShow provided more reason to believe that the RV industry’s long-term future is bright. For example, Kelly said seminar presenters Joe and Vicki Kieva spoke to “tons” of people who do not currently own RVs, but who paid to attend the show because they are serious about taking up the RV lifestyle.