On the road again: RV sales spike as the summer of COVID-19 arrives
TORONTO -- As lockdown measure continue to be slowly lifted across the country, many are looking for ways to plan a vacation safely. While airlines such as Air Canada have begun offering flights to certain destinations, those who are more reluctant on flying are hitting the road instead.
RV dealerships and mobile home rental companies have seen a surge in sales across Canada and the U.S.
Catherine Twerd, the sales manager at Sicard RV near St. Catharine’s, ON, said the pandemic has prompted many to invest in a recreational vehicle.
"We've definitely seen a surge as a result of COVID-19,” she told CTV News, noting she sold 28 trailers and motorhomes on Saturday alone.
Twerd said the reason behind the surge in sales is likely due to mobile homes being seen as a safer and more confined space for those that want to travel without coming into contact with others outside their social bubbles.
"We've actually had customers come in and say, ‘we're here because we can't fly anywhere, we can't take our family to Disney World, we can't go to the beach down in Florida,’” she explained.
The president of the Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association, Shane Devenish said in a statement that recreational vehicles are more desirable now because people can eat meals in a private space, use a private washroom and bed, and have peace of mind knowing who is sanitizing the space and how.
In the U.S. a recent study conducted by the polling firm Ipsos, found that 20 percent of Americans are interested in planning a trip with an RV in comparison to traveling by plane, cruise or car. Of those that are planning to rent or buy an RV, 51 per cent said their reason for doing so is because of health concerns due to the pandemic.
While business are booming, there is a rise in concern for shortages with suppliers that are unable to keep up with demand.
Suppliers in the mobile home business are just catching up after a halt in business during the first months of lockdown measures. Now, they need to make the transition to the high-demand summer season.
Twerd said the increase in selling has made it difficult to restock.
“We normally would have close to 1,000 pieces on the lot for sale. We're out about half of that right now because of all the units that have been sold,” Twerd said.
Camping grounds will also likely pose as another issue for RV renters as not all provinces and territories are in the same re-opening stage, with some having more restrictions than others based on the current health status with COVID-19.