Record crowds are meeting record numbers of RVs at consumer shows taking place now in cities across the country. As reported by RVIA Today Express, the winter RV show season got off to a fast-paced start with every weekend in January packed full of expositions featuring the latest RVs and drawing throngs of potential buyers.
The frenzy will continue through spring, culminating with the Hall of Fame RV Show in Elkhart in April and the last show on the busy schedule slated for Washington State in early May.
“The RV industry is considered a barometer of consumer confidence in the economy,” said RVIA President Frank Hugelmeyer. “Judging by the sheer numbers of people pouring in to view and purchase the vast offerings of RVs on display at these shows, the forecast should continue to stay sunny for RV shipments, which ideally will bode well for the vitality of our nation as well.”
At the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, 70,528 people mobbed the state fairgrounds over a five-day period, breaking the 63,000 mark from the past two years, jamming traffic and requiring the use of overflow parking for the first time ever, according to Florida Recreation Vehicle and Trade Association (FRVTA) Marketing Executive Director Lance Wilson.
“We had more than 400 exhibitors and their booths were packed from the minute the show opened,” said Wilson. “Suppliers made so many sales on the first day that they had to scramble to get more product delivered for the remainder of the show.”
At Michigan’s largest RV and camping show in Grand Rapids, more RVs than ever before filled the 200,000-square-foot building viewed by record attendance of 27,000, up 22% from last year. Elsewhere in Michigan, the 51st Annual Detroit Camper and RV Show completely sold out its booth and dealer space, and based on demand the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVC) is bringing back its show in Port Huron after a ten-year hiatus.
The sheer quantity of RVs on display in Pittsburgh for an estimated crowd of 30,000 over nine days was an indicator that RV business is also booming in Pennsylvania. On the other side of the state, RVs of all sizes crammed the 60,000-square-foot Allentown arena.
In addition to large selections, many shows tout low prices and opportunities to “make a deal.” Camping options – from rustic to opulent – and seminars on a variety of RV topics are also attracting attention. The “Full and Extended Time RVing” and “Tips for Choosing the Right RV” workshops played so well in Tampa that extra chairs were required, indicating to FRVTA Marketing Director Dave Kelly that, “experienced RVers are planning to travel more often and for longer periods of time and new people are looking at RVs and trying to get as much information about ownership as possible.”
According to show organizers, the mix of attendees is varied, ranging from millennials shopping for light trailers to haul behind their cars to working-class families searching for mid-sized campers to business executives designing luxury suites on wheels.