You can tell quite a bit about an industry by attending a large show like the Florida RV SuperShow this past week in Tampa, Florida. This super-large, annual RV event is held inside the Florida State Fairgrounds each January. This year’s show was so large it could barely be contained within the many-acre, fenced perimeter. Just ask my feet. (We’re no longer on speaking terms. But maybe if you asked kindly, they’d tell you their reaction.) My feet will truthfully tell you we walked miles. Miles upon miles!
Barkin’ dogs! (And I’m not talking canines)
Arriving early in the day proved to be a good decision. The mad crush of people didn’t come until shortly after noon. We had a chance to visit all 350+ of the RV products and accessory vendors before lunch. Then we began to tour the millions of RVs at the show. (The number of RVs is an estimate provided by my feet. It may have been less than a million … just sayin.’) You might be interested to know that it took approximately three weeks for all of the RVs to arrive and be moved into position for the show.
What I found most interesting, aside from the electric prototype RVs, rugged off-road rigs, and the sheer number of different manufacturers present, were the comments I overheard. Here are just a few things I heard while walking through the event:
Overheard from dealers and salespeople
“Lots of visitors. Hope it translates into sales.” We won’t know how many RVs sold during the event until all of the information is gathered and compiled. Many RV dealers will extend their special show pricing for a while following the show.
“Prices reflect the uptick in demand.” I may have overheard this as I was trying to recover from my own sticker shock. Granted, I haven’t shopped for new RVs in a while, but still! Prices definitely have increased—exponentially.
“I’ve got a guy who wants to know the capacity of the holding tanks.” This comment made my day. In truth, many shoppers do not inquire about holding tanks. Or anything else constructional or mechanical, for that matter. It gave me joy to know that at least some RVers are able to look past the bling long enough to ask about the critically important internal (or external), out-of-sight features.
Consumer comments overheard
“Not sure we can afford an RV with prices like this!” Guess I wasn’t the only person experiencing sticker shock, huh?
“Look! Another wine cooler.” Many, many RVs featured this special add-on. I was surprised, considering that the same rigs had full-size refrigerators. But I’m not a wine connoisseur, so what do I know? It seems RVs continue to compete to see who can include the most bling! From fancy exterior paint jobs to interiors that take your breath away, the bells and whistles are really amazing.
“Not enough RVs for families!” Whatever the reason, there didn’t seem to be as many RV bunk rooms (or RVs that featured bunks) as I’d expected. There were several floor plans that incorporated desks for all those folks who can (thanks to two years of COVID) work remotely from anywhere. That’s a real bonus for them!
The strangest comments?
“Is that a mixed breed dog?” “Nope! It’s a pig.” There were lots of pets at the Tampa show. Lots! I saw large and teeny-tiny dogs of every color. Cats, too. (In strollers.) I also spotted what looked a lot like a potbelly pig. On a leash. Definitely not a mixed breed of dog!
The RV industry is alive and doing very well. Consumers are excited about new features, but prices? Not so much.
Have you attended any RV shows lately? What are your impressions? What comments have you overheard? Travel over to my forum and let’s discuss it together.