“We are in an unprecedented time – regardless of cyclical trends from the past”, Sherman Goldenberg, Publisher of Woodall’s Campground Management states.
The RVIA (the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) has reported that in August, wholesale shipments of 35,946 units that were 31.5% ahead of August 2015 and the largest August shipment totals since 1977.
In mid-September, Goldenberg went to the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association’s Hershey Show. He was hoping to get a handle on the big picture regarding the RV marketplace, realizing that it will spill over into the RV park and campground arena. Who were the people attending these shows, and what were their reasons? he wondered.
So Goldenberg chatted with numerous attendees at Senior Day at Hershey – a show that drew record attendance of 57,692 – and first spoke with a couple who were retired and looking forward to hitting the road in a big way; they were looking for motorhomes in the $120,000 range. Forget the starter-RV for these first timers.
Another couple were checking out the Hershey park in order to keep up with the latest industry twists for their respective Facebook groups (RV Tips and Debi’s RV Cooking) and perhaps latch on to a new motorhome to replace their ’07 Itasca. Professional and private reasons stimulated their observations. And veteran campers Lou and Janie Bobisch, were considering a trade up from their two-year-old Forest River travel trailer – for something a little bigger. There was a couple from Lincoln Park, N.J. looking to “maybe find something bigger than their existing 30-foot Hurricane Class A”, they mused.
Some New York retirees were thinking about getting back into the RV lifestyle after a two-year hiatus. “We just want to see what’s new in the industry”, said Bill, who had retired from the aerospace industry. “They’re changing so much every year, a lot of new features”.
Goldenberg’s conclusion after all of these encounters? that there are people with hopes, dreams and aspirations who are earnestly driving this market into continued upward growth. Retired couples looking for a lifestyle for their golden years that includes travel with the comforts of home, individuals looking to upgrade, professionals keeping up with industry shifts and consumer demands, and veteran RVing enthusiasts deciding to upgrade. Economic downturns of the recent past have only sent more people to RVing for more affordable living, as well as inviting a generation to the road as we haven’t done RVing before, to those with wanderlust still stirring in their veins.
The RVing industry has much to celebrate.