Bob Zagami, Executive Director of The New England RV Dealers Association, was a recent guest on The Bloomberg Baystate Business Hour, in their Boston studio.
Bloomberg news had noticed the tremendous amount of coverage being given to the RV industry and wanted to learn more about the drivers of this activity, and who was buying all these RVs.
Bloomberg News focuses on business trends and companies that people choose to invest in.
The RV industry has long been an economic indicator of when the country is going into a recession, and is also one of the first indicators when the country is rebounding and about to come out of the recession - critical factors for their listeners and investors around the country - especially with the incredible rebound of the RV industry since 2011.
In 2016, RV sales reached 430,000. Thus far in 2017, shipments of RVs have exceeded the same that month in 2016. It is predicted sales will reach up to 470,000 to 480,000 this year, and could exceed 500,00 units for the first time since the industry started recording sales statistics.
Outdoor enthusiasts can find an RV to fit any budget and with any amentias they may want when enjoying the lifestyle – from a $5,000 pop-up camper to diesel pusher motorhome pushing toward a million dollars. There truly is something for everybody, whether it is a single person or a family of ten.
Two iconic names that most people are aware of are Airstream and Winnebago. If you order an Airstream today, it could take 8-9 months before it shows up at the dealership. Winnebago has recently expanded their product lineup to include towables and offers one of the most expansive lineups of motorhomes in the industry today.
This is an American industry at its best. In the heartland of the country, American manufacturing of RVs is concentrated in the Elkhart and Goshen, IN area, just east of South Bend, IN. The manufacturers, suppliers, skilled labor are all concentrated there.
RVs allow people to vacation on their own terms, going where they want to go, when they want to go, and doing it without the hassle of airline aggravation or hotels where you don’t know who slept in the bed last night. Everything consumers enjoy in their homes today is available in many RVs, including large screen televisions, convection microwave ovens and even dishwashers!
The RV lifestyle returns people to their roots and the way America was many decades ago – when life was simpler and we didn’t have the societal issues that drive people away from each other. RVing is the last vestige of what America was in our youth. When you get to a campground the kids go out to play with the neighbors, families relax, they disconnect from the devices and form new relationships that last a lifetime.
RVing is about making memories with your family and friends and enjoying everything you can do outside, whether it is riding an ATV through the forest, fishing at the lake or snowmobiling through the wilderness.
The recent growth being experienced is being driven by new demographics for this industry – Millennials and single women. The young Millennials enjoy the freedom of being able to work anywhere in our social and mobile environment. Single women, young and old, love the independence afforded to them with this lifestyle. They may be downsizing after the loss of a spouse, or feeling the wanderlust at a young age and want to explore all this great country has to offer.
Listen to the full interview here. Bob comes on at about 12 minutes.