EDITOR’S NOTE: Showing no signs of letting up, reports continue to surface of the surging consumer demand for RVs.
• New Hampshire outdoors and campgrounds are always a destination for tourists, but some sectors of that industry are starting to see an uptick in business and interest during the pandemic, according to a report by WMUR.
It was a difficult few months for any industry, including places like RV dealerships. But, sales are starting to turn around at Camping World in Chichester, N.H., as people look to get outside and take their families on vacation. “We were off by probably 60%. Now, we’ve seen a boomerang the other way and we’re getting new buyers more than anything,” General Manager of Camping World Tony DiBenedetto said.
DiBenedetto said they made do during the pandemic by going virtual and delivering some RV’s to people’s homes. But lately, he has seen a new kind of customer. “We’re seeing a big influx of people who have never done this before. So, it’s kind of cool for us to kind of get all the newcomers in there. There’s a lot of questions,” he said.
• Right now, RV sales are through the roof, local RV retailers told WDBJ. Those dealers say while the pandemic is driving people to the great outdoors, it’s also left them scrambling to meet the demand. That includes the staff at American Family RV in Salem, Va., meeting more American families than ever before.
“Nobody wants to fly or go on a cruise. Camping is social distancing at its best,” said owner Layne Rowland. He said since March, work has been steady, and then some. “It’s been incredibly busy,” he said.
Not only on the lot but even online. General Manager Kevin Thomas said their website is getting three times the traffic they had pre-pandemic. “Our website has seen an increase so heavy that we’ve had to increase our package that was available to be able to accommodate everybody,” said Thomas.
• Families are taking titans of travel and making the king of the road. Travelers, vacationers and wanderers everywhere are trading in their Boeing 737 seats for the comfy couches and flat-screen TVs inside RVs, fifth-wheelers and travel trailers.
Schaeffer said he’s having a record sales year, made up of a lot of first-time buyers and families. “These new buyers have never had one, and they just want to get out,” said Schaeffer.
Sure, they’re selling a record number of units, but Schaeffer said his dealership could run out of inventory on some of its most popular models as early as next month. That, along with lengthy pre-delivery inspections before every sale, at times it stretches them thin. “It gets to be a chore, let me tell you when you’re hit with so many orders,” said Schaeffer.
• The RV industry is booming and the demand is starting to outweigh the supply, according to a report by Spectrum News 1.
“Manufacturers shut down for about a month and a half which put about 20,000 units that aren’t on dealers’ lots, so inventory is getting hard to find,” said Jennifer Radel, president, All Seasons RV in Streetsboro, Ohio.
Radel said her RV lot is only about half-full. That’s because sales are soaring. “It was pretty quiet for the first month and a half, but first of May everybody was kind of tired of being cooped up and have decided that RVing is a super safe way to travel, you don’t have to worry about airports or hotels, so our business has just skyrocketed,” said Radel.