The cumulative attendance at the 50th Annual National RV Trade Show through Day 2 stood at 7,543, down 479 people or about 6% from a year ago, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reported today.
The number of dealers attending the show through Wednesday was 2,579, down by 235 or about 8% from a year ago, but most other categories are down as well.
Could the growth of the Elkhart County Open House held in September be responsible for the shortfall?
“A lot of factors play in. It probably has an effect, that some dealers go to the Elkhart Open House and say, ‘OK, I’ve done the business’ and skip Louisville. That’s possible,” said RVIA spokesman Kevin Broom.
“One thing we’ve been hearing is that dealers that came to the show came to do business,” he stressed.
But beyond that, Broom speculated that the overall decline of the industry since 2007, despite a resurgence the past two years, is as much responsible for the decline as anything.
The number of “buyers” who attended the show, representing dealers, accessory stores, campgrounds and warehouse distributors, totaled 2,920 through Wednesday, down 276 or 9% from a year ago.
Other headcounts in major categories were:
- Manufacturer exhibitors, 1,691, down 6.
- Supplier exhibitors, 1,954, down 213 or 10%.
- Non-member suppliers, 453, up 82 or 22%.
The RVIA will examine all the numbers after the show, which concludes this afternoon.
The show continues to appeal to countries around the globe.
Besides Canada, representatives from France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal and China are attending the show, according to Broom.
Many register as dealers or even manufacturers so it’s hard to sort out just how many are from overseas but Broom called it a “pretty sizable contingent.”
RVIA President Richard Coon has taken a lot of ribbing since falling in the parking lot outside his hotel Tuesday morning on way to the Outlook Breakfast. He suffered a gash over his right eye and was treated at a local hospital where he received eight stitches.
Undaunted, Coon sped over to the breakfast and arrived just as RVIA Vice President James Ashurst finished delivering the remarks Coon was scheduled to make.
Coon was otherwise unharmed by the mishap and was able to attend every scheduled event and meeting both days, Broom noted.
Well-wishers have crafted a number of “stories” about how Coon sustained the injury, ranging from “thwarting a robbery to rescuing children from a burning building,” Broom said. “Everybody has a different story.”
After overnight rain showers Monday night and a threat of light snow, weather in Louisville this week has been ideal and should be good for Midwest participantss making the trip back home.