When recreational vehicle manufacturers closed plants in March and April because of coronavirus, it appeared the industry was headed for one of its worst years on record. But a month later, plants began operating and to the surprise of everyone, consumer demand went through the roof.

Sales “are off the chart,”, said Robert Zagami, executive director of the New England RV Dealers Association – which represents about 35 dealers in the region. “No one forecasted it; no one predicted it.”

The dramatic increase in demand appears to be a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Orders requiring social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus and the closure of many favorite vacations areas forced people to search for alternatives. As the number of coronavirus cases increase many people simply do not want to risk a cruise, plane ride or trip to an amusement park, Zagami said.

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The impact of Covid-19 can be seen in the number of recreational vehicles shipped this year nationally.

January and February figures were comparable to 2019, but March, when the spread of the virus became a serious concern, saw a decrease from 38,000 to 30,000, and in April shipments were down to 5,000 compared to 40,000 year last year. In May, the numbers recovered to 28,000, which is still off about 12,000 than May 2019.

“While numbers compared to last May show a 30% decrease, the reality is the RV industry is very strong right now,” RV Industry Association President Craig Kirby said in a statement.

Check out the full article from the NH Business Review here.