RVIA Economic Impact Study

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 .

RV Executive Today: Winter Shows Project Strong 2017

Wed Mar 15, 2017

The following article appeared in March's issue of RV Executive Today, a publication sponsored and produced by the Recreation Vehicle Dealer's Association. It spoke about the winter shows in early 2017 as a strong indicator to an even stronger year overall, projected to surpass the record-setting 2016.

"American consumers have flocked to wintertime RV shows, portending another good sales year for dealers.

Although the University of Michigan’s Consumer Research Center was, as of early February, forecasting growth of less than 2 percent for the RV market this year, the amount of interest shown at RV shows suggests that forecast will need to be raised upward. Some dealers say they believe the market could grow to 450,000 units in 2017.

For example, interviewed at the January Washington RV Camping Expo in Chantilly, Virginia, Bill Herring, general manager of the Campers Inn RV dealership in Fredericksburg, said that traffic was up at least 25 percent over last year.

“It could have been due to the show promoter’s advertising and our local TV commercial,” he said. “But people are in a good mood and ready to buy.”

The Boston RV & Camping Expo also had record attendance and quality attendees.

“It just seemed like everything clicked this year,” said Linda Mailhott, co-owner of Seacoast RVs in Saco, Maine. “We [exhibiting dealers] had an incredible array of product there, from a small unit that could be towed by a motorcycle, to a great selection of pop-ups and smaller trailers, to a great selection of fifth wheels and motorized units with a good representation of Type B, C and As, and topping off with a 43-foot diesel pusher that had a ‘sold’ sign on it by the end of the show.”

Mailhott said the New England Dealers Association’s social media campaign - which included live videos with dealers prior to the show - helped boost attendance. Some dealers’ videos had more than 5,000 views on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, she said.

There also was a 25 percent attendance increase at the Indy RV Expo in Indianapolis, said Ken Eckstein, CEO of Mount Comfort RV in Greenfield, Indiana.

“I was really encouraged by the big influx of true firsttime buyers – people whose parents were not RVers,” he said.

After years of customer demand for bigger RVs with more and more interior space, Eckstein said, “We’re hearing more of, ‘What can I pull behind my minivan, behind my Subaru?’ More buyers want features, gadgets and something that looks cool and cute sells, too.”

The only thing that concerned Eckstein was that almost all of the units that Mount Comfort sold during the show were financed, while at the previous year’s show, a little less than two-thirds of the sold units were financed and the remainder were cash deals.

At the biggest retail show of all, the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, attendance was up more than 11 percent, totaling 70,528 people. Ron Fleming, vice president and general manager of Tampa-based Lazydays RV, said his dealership’s sales at the event were up 20 percent over the previous year.

“2016 was a really good year – we saw growth that outpaced the industry – and we’re not getting any sense that 2017 is going to be anything less than a great year.”

Cody Loughlin, co-owner of America Choice RV, a four-location central Florida dealership that also participated in the SuperShow, said, “It feels like we finally put the Great Recession behind us. The only warning sign is that we aren’t seeing any warning signs. I’m a banker by nature, so I’m a risk manager. But I have to say, it seems very positive.”

The same could be said about the Pittsburgh RV Show, according to Bill Ansley, owner of Ansley RV in Duncansville, Pennsylvania.

“The show was great. We sold everything from ultra-lite trailers to diesel pushers,” Ansley said. “We won’t know how the year will be for us until the end of April, but we’re optimistic. We’re stocking inventory and projecting 10 percent-plus growth in 2017.”

The only thing that could hold back retail sales, Ansley added, is product shortages due to RV manufacturers and motorhome chassis suppliers not being able to keep pace with demand."