Despite Indiana’s rising unemployment numbers because of the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the state’s economy, northern Indiana’s RV industry is running at near capacity, according to reporting by Patrick Redmond at FtWayneBusiness.com.
That’s because new RVs are selling faster right now that manufacturers can make them.
According to the RV Industry Association (RVIA), the industry trade organization that tracks RV production, May was a very busy month at RV dealers across the country. Sales were brisk outpacing supplies of new units.
Ironically, that report comes only months after industry insiders say poor demand for RVs in the first two months of the year had manufacturers talking about shutting down production lines and laying off workers.
That followed weakened sales throughout 2019, which causes some plants to slow down production.
The news comes as a surprise to some since the U.S. economy is showing signs of shrinking and the RV industry typically is the first industry to feel the effects of economic upheaval. But the difference this year, Monika Geraci, the senior manager of marketing strategy and operation for RVIA, said is that the coronavirus pandemic has made many consumers cautious of air travel, cruise ships and hotels and that they now see RVs as a safer mode of travel and better vacation alternative.
“As we emerge as a nation from today’s stay-at-home orders, it is clear that consumers want to get outdoors again,” she said.
Geraci said dealers from across the country tell the RVIA from the first moments those dealerships reopened after stay-at-home orders were lifted, customers have flooded sales lots. And many of those customers are first-time RV buyers.
Industry research shows because of the pandemic, people still want to travel but they are opting to stay closer to home. They also want to have control over their personal environment and how they come into contact with other people.
“That really lends itself to RV-ing, where you get to bring your own bed with you, your own dishes, food and all of that, and ultimately choose how and when you engage with others,” she explained.
Geraci said this could be the new normal in the industry, at least for the next year or two.