RV Consumer Sentiment is Building

RV Consumer Sentiment Unfazed by Macroeconomic Changes

Much has transpired since the Fall 2022 Hershey Pennsylvania RV Show (one of the largest in the country) where nearly 50,000 RV shoppers enthusiastically snatched up bargains on both new and used RVs.  World-wide changes in macroeconomics, (inflation, rising gas and commodity prices, higher interest rates, a prolonged war in Europe, and the looming threat of an internal recession) continue to impact every stratum of our economy, but surprisingly enough, interest in RVing as a viable travel, vacation, and recreational alternative, continues to build.  

End of 2022 Beginning 2023 – RV Consumer Sentiment Remains High

The restrictions on travel during the pandemic of 2020 and 2021, triggered an unprecedented interest in RVing, but that interest has not abated as the pandemic now fades into the background.  Many manufacturers and sellers at the 2022 Hersey PA RV Show reported brisk sales, to wrap up their 2022 sales cycle, and that trend continued right into 2023, at one of the first RV shows of the season: the Boston RV and Camping Expo, Jan 13 -17 2023. At the Boston show, Jeff Hirsch, CEO of Campers Inn reported eager RV buyers showed up in droves to explore and purchase every type of recreational vehicle, from folding and bunkhouse trailers (for weekend family get aways), to luxury motorhomes and fifth wheels for full-time RV travel.  

Additionally, industry research conducted by RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) shows that over 67 million Americans plan to camp in an RV in 2023 which is an increase of over 2 million from a similar survey conducted in the summer of 2022.


2023 is set to be one of the biggest years for RVers yet!

RV Shows Give RVers an Overview of What’s New

But if you’re new to RVing, don’t despair!  There is plenty of RV inventory available (nearly 500,000 new wholesale RVs were shipped to dealers in 2022, the third largest number of units shipped, of all time). But if you are new to RVing you should be more concerned about finding the prefect RV for you and your family rather than worrying if there will be enough inventory available when you are ready to buy.  To find the perfect RV, you may need to do some research to determine what will work best for your needs, goals, and budget. RV shows are prefect places to do this research and the vast majority of RV shows are coming up in the next few months. Dozens and dozens of RV shows are scattered all across the country, in major metropolitan centers as well as smaller communities. There you’ll find RV enthusiasts, dealers, manufacturer’s reps, and current RVers, all willing and eager to talk with you, answer your questions, and help you determine what type or brand of RV will fit your camping and recreational lifestyle.

RV shows are great for looking, but not always your best choice for buying.

But….Buying at an RV Show May Not Be Prudent

Of course, buying an RV at a show is an option (and selling you one is the goal of every exhibitor) but that may not be your best option. RV shows give you an opportunity to explore features, layouts, types, brands, amenities, and floorplans, plus you can sit in a host of different types of RVs and imagine what it might be like to go camping in any of them, but RV shows can be confusing places to do any real comparative shopping.  After you have explored all the options at multiple RV shows you will probably have a fairly good idea of what type of RV would best meet your needs but buying a new RV at an RV show may still not be prudent.  Most RVs at shows are new models and even if you get an awesome “show discount” it will still cost much more than a similar used RV.  Additionally, a little known fact, is that most first-time RV buyers do not choose the right RV in their first purchase, so they end up trading it in within the first three years of ownership. Unfortunately, many will upgrade within the first six months.   Buying a new RV that you only keep for six months to three years will result in a huge loss of revenue. Some buyers have even forfeited as much as $20 or $30 thousand dollars in this very scenario.

Best Way to Buy an RV

There is a better way to manage this, whether you’re buying your first RV, upgrading to your second RV, or you’re replacing your tenth RV. Do all your research at RV shows so you know what’s new, what’s available, and what features fit your camping lifestyle.  Then buy your RV from “for-sale-by-owner” RVers and use the National Vehicle database to find the perfect RV for your needs. You can also ask the National Vehicle staff to help you secure financing or get your prospective used RV professionally inspected.  Buying from “for-sale-by-owner” RVers in the private market will save you a pile of money compared to buying new or even used at an RV show, or from a dealer. Go to the shows to determine what brand and type of RV meets your needs, then find a comparable RV in the private marketplace


It’s the best of both worlds.

About Peggy Dent

Peggy Dent is an author, writer and full-time RVer, currently traveling in the US and Canada. She's driven a motorhome more than 130,000 miles and learned the secrets, delights, and pitfalls of RVing through her own experiences. She shares her knowledge and insights in numerous RV industry publications. You can contact her through her website at www.apeninyourhand.com