Sales Continue To Surge For Boat And RV Dealers

Jul 1, 2020

The popularity of recreational vehicles and the RV lifestyle — for so long a key cog in Florida’s tourism-based economy — was already experiencing a resurgence earlier this year. That's thanks, in part, to the strength of the economy (at the time) and increased interest among millennials who aren’t ready or can’t afford to buy a home and are able to work remotely while they indulge their wanderlust. 

Then came the coronavirus pandemic — and the subsequent economic downturn. 

Sales of luxury, big-ticket items like RVs and boats were supposed to come to a screeching halt. Just like the years following the 2008 financial crisis. 

But something funny happened on the way to a COVID-19 crisis-led downturn: a surge in sales. 

“Even with a ton of uncertainty in the world right now, and more uncertainty to come, people are pretty dang passionate about boating,” says Brett McGill, CEO of Clearwater-based MarineMax, one of the nation’s largest boat dealers, a publicly traded firm with $1.23 billion in revenue in 2019. “They’re less cautious than I thought they would be at this time, which is great.” 

With schools, summer camps, sports leagues and other activities shut down because of the pandemic, boats and RVs allow families to get outdoors and travel while feeling safe and socially distant. And because both the RV and marine industries were deemed essential services during the pandemic, dealers were able to keep their doors open to the public. 

“There's a certain comfort level” to the RV lifestyle, says Kevin Campbell, president of Sarasota-based Campbell RV. “You can very easily distance yourself from other people and get some space. Another real plus is the ability to prepare and cook your own meals while you’re on the road. We’re hearing a lot of positive feedback about that from people.” 

Check out the full article from Business Observer here.