Possibly 20% of the people attending three consumer shows in different parts of the country in January are prepared to buy new RVs during the first half of this year, according the first RV Business Consumer Sentiment Survey.

Consumers were surveyed at the Pittsburgh RV Show, Jan. 6-14, the Central Oklahoma RV Show in Oklahoma City, Jan. 11-14 and the Florida RV Supershow in Tampa, Jan. 17-21.

A total of 563 attendees were questioned including 150 each at Pittsburgh and Oklahoma City and 263 at Tampa.

More details about the survey will be reported in the March edition of RV Business magazine.

Although the survey should not be considered scientific, every effort was made to randomly select respondents at the shows.

The main conclusion that might be reached from the survey: There is a significant amount of business to be had this spring.

Of particular importance is the fact that, of those questioned at the shows in January, 63 people – or 11% of the respondents – said they intend to buy a new motorhome within the next six months.

Another 53 show attendees – or 9% – said they intend to buy a new towable with six months.

Additionally, 35 people – or 6% – said they plan to buy a used motorhome or a used towable within six months.

Another significant finding was that 138 of the people questioned – or 25% – said they were undecided about whether they would buy an RV within six months.

There were 286 people – or 51% – who said they definitely did not plan to buy an RV within six months.

In other words, about half of the people questioned at the three shows either were committed to buying an RV during the first half of this year, or they were not willing to rule out the possibility.

Here are some other survey highlights:

1.) Interest rates will be a key factor in the health of the RV retail market this year and in the future. This is indicated by the fact that 61% of the respondents said they would need a loan to buy an RV. Additionally, 73% of those who said they would need a loan answered that if they felt interest rates were too high, they would postpone their RV purchase. Another 12% said high interest rates could force them into buying a less expensive RV.

2.) Fuel prices are not as important an issue as interest rates when people think about buying an RV. On a 10-point scale, 82 survey respondents – 15% – listed fuel prices as having the greatest impact on their decision to buy an RV. However, 147 respondents – or 26% – listed fuel prices as the least important factor. Another 86 respondents – also 15% – rated fuel prices as a 5 on the 10-point scale, or neutral.