New data from RV Trader shows consumers are engaging with dealers at levels RV Trader Executive VP of Sales and Operations Paige Bouma said she never has seen before.
The online marketplace looked at the top 10 most common motorized and towable RV makes listed on its site as of Jan. 29. The list shows consumers actively are searching units, Bouma said, but the bigger trend is how often people are connecting with dealers.
“The story is that people are not just searching, but they are going in and starting to converse with the dealers to make moves,” Bouma said. “That is reflected in what we are seeing. There are tons of opportunities for dealers to take advantage of this.”
In addition to top-listed RV makes, the company is analyzing how many times a user searches a specific brand and visits the dealers’ Vehicle Detail Page (VDP). This is where consumers dig deeper, Bouma said, which is why photos, videos, floorplans and other up-to-date RV details are essential to list on a dealer’s website.
Regarding motorized units, RV Trader data found more people are searching brands such as Thor Motor Coach (TMC), which had 5,040 units listed on the site and saw an 89 percent increase in search impression rates this January compared with last, Bouma said. RV Trader also found 88 percent more users visited the company’s VDP seeking unit specifics.
TMC was not the only Thor Industries company that saw spikes in year-over-year consumer engagement. Jayco had 12,192 units listed and 74 percent more people visited the company’s VDP, in addition to a 111 percent spike in users searching the company’s Entegra Coach models. However, Jayco’s biggest leap was found in its email leads.
“Once [users] get to the VDP, they are engaging with dealers,” she said. “In this case, a lot of makes have seen a three-times increase in email leads. Consumers are motivated and want to have conversations to move forward. It shows there is more intent than what we saw a year ago.”
Jayco saw the highest email lead increase in RV Trader’s motorized segment with 193 percent more users pursuing conversations with dealers. TMC followed close behind with a 190 percent spike in email leads this year, Bouma said, and Airstream came in third with a 177 percent increase.
“There is so much more online investigation of a unit,” Bouma said. “It is super important that dealers acclimate their listings to engage customers to reach out. Listings need to be properly put together.”
In towables, RV Trader found search impression growth and VDP visitation rates led by Grand Design, which had 11,705 units listed and a 144 percent increase in email leads. Seventy-seven percent more people were searching the company’s units and 71 percent more were visiting its VDP page compared with last January. Winnebago Industries, which owns the company, had 6,153 listed vehicles.
CrossRoads RV units saw upticks in search impressions, VDP page visits and email leads compared with last January, Bouma said. Seventy-three percent more people were searching the brand and 64 percent sought further vehicle details, along with a 154 percent spike in those who sent email leads to CrossRoads dealers.
“People have to move quickly, and they are reaching out to dealers (more) than I think they have ever done before,” Bouma said. “[Consumers] want to know whether a unit is available or not, want more details or to set up a time to look at it. A lot of the time, people are asking if dealers can help them find a specific unit. The engagement piece is really rising right now.”
Forest River also saw spikes in RV Trader’s towables sector. The manufacturer topped the most common RV makes at 33,878 units posted on the site, in addition to having the highest towable-related consumer engagement, with email leads increasing 157 percent. Coachmen RV had 10,038 listed units, while Prime Time Manufacturing rounded out the top 10 list at 3,331 units posted.
“We know that buyers are doing online research more than ever, because they are not out on a Sunday drive to walk the dealer’s lot,” Bouma said in regard to the pandemic’s effect on customer habits. “Really they are spending that time going online and understanding the units. Dealers need to make sure they are not missing out on opportunities to meet buyers.”
Using third-party marketplaces is a great way to get inventory to customers at a large volume, she said.
“Traffic numbers continue to be really strong year-over-year,” Bouma said in regard to the industry’s winter season. “There is not a lot slowing down. We are seeing people RVing now more than we have ever seen.”