Preliminary reports from the Florida RV Supershow Jan. 12-17 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa indicate that attendance totaled about 44,000 people – roughly 8% less than last year but much more than many industry insiders might have guessed after last year’s regrettable fourth quarter.
“I was encouraged with the attendance,” said Dave Kelly, FRVTA marketing director for America’s largest annual retail show. “We were expecting a 15% to 20% drop. The interest was there, and when we turn the corner, there is going to be an avalanche of pent-up demand.”
Total show space was estimated to have been off 10% to 15% and display coaches down to 1,085 units this year compared to 1,250 in 2008.
“I think everybody was pretty surprised, manufacturers included, not only by the attendance, but by the attitude of the people,” Kelly said. “We were anticipating the worst and it didn’t happen.”
FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson is more bullish on the industry right now than people might think.
“There’s definitely a pulse out there (in the marketplace) right now,” Wilson said. “And, hopefully, the retail shows that are taking place will be the start of some consistency for our dealer body.”
The reports from Florida were similar those from other, smaller winter shows in Oregon, Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina and Indiana.