The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Mon Sep 26, 2016
In just the first day of the Supplier Showcase in Elkhart, Indiana last week, the attendance numbers more than doubled the entire output from last year, according to BAL Products Group Aftermarket Sales Manager John Hawkins, who organized the event and whose company hosted the showcase.
Last year’s showcase spanned from Tuesday to Thursday. However, Hawkins decided to shorten it this year, to eliminate Thursday from the lineup, because it is normally a sparsely attended day in the past, Hawkins says.
“On just Tuesday alone, we doubled the traffic we had all of last year,” Hawkins says. “The first day alone was worth the whole event. That was really encouraging. What I took form it the most was how upbeat the dealers are.”
Hawkins says history has shown the RV buying usually takes a dip during an election year. However, even with the volatile election year between two widely unlikable candidates, Hawkins says the trend this year has been continuing upward and onward.
“This year is still purring right along,” Hawkins says. “Everyone is still buying and everyone I’ve spoken to is encouraged. The customers in our industry rely on the good stock market to give them confidence. That’s been strong, fuel prices have stayed steady. Feds haven’t raised the interest rates to where it would be a concern. All the variables are working.”
The response to the downturn of eight years ago also has allowed many of the suppliers and customers to feel they can positively respond to anything that is thrown their way, Hawkins says.
“I believe, in the end, dealers, manufacturers, suppliers and everybody that weathered the 08-09 downturn are stronger now,” he says. “Consumers say ‘if we got through that, we can get through anything.’ The opulence of the 600-horse power diesel pushers that were being sold like drinks from a lemonade stand in the early 2000s is not going on, but they enjoy the lifestyle. People are just smarter and more cautious.”
Going forward, Hawkins says BAL Products is preparing for the Louisville show in Kentucky, held Thanksgiving weekend, where he hopes to run into some of the same dealers, distributors and other potential customers they ran into at the Showcase.
“Even though it’s hosted on our property, everyone is equal in this. They can do whatever they want to make it a success,” Hawkins says. “The more thoughtful the suppliers are and the more keen they are to follow it up, that’s why they work so well.”