Serving as an annual harbinger for the RV industry, last week’s Florida RV SuperShow gave rise to a positive outlook for the coming year as the host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) reported record attendance and “brisk sales” for the participating dealers and suppliers.
According to FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson, 56,953 RV enthusiasts passed through the gates at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa for “public days” at the Jan.15-19 event. “Our first day was huge, and so was Saturday,” Wilson said, noting Tuesday’s Industry Day was also well attended. “Thursday and Friday were pretty normal, but still steady. I think everyone was pleased with the traffic.”
Also fueling hopes for a banner 2014 was “an overall upbeat attitude” among attendees.
“All the negativity that haunted the industry – gas prices, lack of financing and a tough economy – seems to have dissipated,” Wilson said. “We saw it last year as people were more upbeat, but it was even more evident this year. Unless something dramatic happens, something out of our control, I think the dealers and manufacturers are anticipating another good year.”
That enthusiasm translated into sold tags hanging on RVs as dealers were “generally pleased” with sales results.
“We certainly don’t have any official numbers regarding dealer sales, but generally speaking they seemed to do very well,” he said. “I think we’re seeing a lot of people that are tired of sitting on their money and not making anything because of interest rates. It’s created a lot of pent-up demand. I heard there were a lot of cash sales and a good portion of the people who attended the show were serious about buying an RV.”
Wilson noted that financing is more available for “qualified buyers,” which also helps spur sales. “We’re not back to the point where anybody can buy an RV, which is a good thing,” he said. “People are smarter about lending, and their debt load. It gives the industry a real solid base to operate from and has the makings for a prolonged run versus facing another meltdown.”
Although falling well shy of the “polar vortex” that has gripped other areas of the nation, Wilson said weather was a factor.
“The weather was spotty – sunny but in the low 50s, which is cool for us,” he said. “It was also windy, which made it even cooler. But it didn’t rain, so the weather really didn’t deter people from coming out.”
He added, “All in all it was a very successful show, and I think it was good indicator for the industry as a whole.”
The dates for the 2015 Florida RV SuperShow are Jan. 13 (Industry Day) and Jan. 14-18 (Public Days). For more information contact the FRVTA at (813) 741-0488 or visit www.frvta.org.