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Pandemic sales boom helping RV industry handle inflation impact

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Posted at 7:22 AM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 07:36:36-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Inflation has left it’s mark on industries across the country but there is one business that seems to be fairing well in the current economy.

Recent reports from CNN show the RV industry is set for a near record year in production.

Industry experts forecast 2022 to be the second best production year, only behind 2021 which saw more than 600,000 vehicles produced, per CNN.

Brandon Honeyman, general manager for Northside Family RV in Lexington, is already seeing sales start to pick up for what is typically seen as the busy season for business.

“We’re Kentucky’s number one motorhome dealer. Summer time is going to be when it starts to pick up. Once people start camping that’s when they start to see some things they may want to change about the unit they’re in,” Honeyman said.

Honeyman has only held the GM position at Northside for a few weeks, but he’s worked in the RV industry for many years, including throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

He reflects on 2020 as a couple months where things came to a halt, before everything took off for the RV market.

“I think that was as airplanes started to shut down to be in a safe space where you can choose who comes in and out of your motorhome. You can disinfect it. You have full control over that,” Honeyman said.

It was the start of what would be a boom in sales in 2020 and 2021.

Looking at present day, part of what’s keeping the industry up, according to Honeyman, is many Americans that first got RV’s during the pandemic, rather than just selling them back, and going all in to enhance their investment.

“I think that having a lot of first timers from the pandemic that caused a big rush into the industry,” Honeyman said.

“What they’re doing now is looking for upgrades or other options for them and their family. That’s what I think is attributed to some stronger numbers as we head into the summer here.”

None of this is to say inflation has not impacted RV business, Honeyman has seen declines in line with economic spikes this year.

However, the sales boom during the pandemic has helped cushion the blow, with current sales numbers, for Northside and industry wide, still 30-40% higher than 2019.

They’re numbers Honeyman is happy to see but his focus does stay on providing a positive experience for his customers.

“We actually get to sell fun. We get to sell families making memories for a lifetime,” Honeyman said.

“At the end of the day. We’re here for the customers and that’s the important piece.”