CRVA Targets Younger Buyers for Toronto Show
Jesse Sidlauskas
November 20, 2015

The Canadian RV Association is bringing some changes to one of the nation’s largest RV shows.

The CRVA will host the Toronto Spring Camping RV Show and Sale, formerly called the Toronto International RV Show, on Feb. 25-28 at the International Centre in Toronto.

In previous years, the CRVA and the Ontario RV Dealers Association partnered in the event, but the CRVA will branch out in 2016, hosting the event alone.

Hoping to give a lift to the show’s business, the CRVA invested in a strategy to target a younger audience with the 2016 show, according to CRVA Executive Director Shane Devenish.

Devenish said that camping trends in Canada are strong through 2015, but a study conducted for the Canadian Camping and RV Council determined that more than half of those campers still use tents.

Devenish sees that number as an opportunity.

“This show will be targeted to the younger buyer, in addition to the older, but the younger demographic, 25 to 34, moreso than any other show because we’re trying to bring some new guys in,” he said.

The CRVA has not worked out a detailed schedule for the show, but is currently working with advertisers to cater a message that attracts Millennial buyers, while keeping its core customers coming in according to Davenish.

“Everyone we’re talking to says you need to be targeting your advertising to a specific age group, and we’re looking at some ways to bring in some new buyers, in addition to the older buyers,” he said.

As the U.S. RV market has grown steadily this year, the Canadian RV market has been slow to follow as low oil prices curb the country’s economy. The Canadian dollar began 2016 worth 86 cents, compared to the U.S. dollar, but has dropped to 75 cents today (Nov. 20).

Devenish notes that the economic impact has not treated all areas of the country evenly.

“Different provinces are a little better than others,” he said, referring to the RV economy. “But it’s the dollar, for sure that is a big reason for (lower Canadian RV sales).”

With the new approach to the Toronto show, he said he’s hoping to give the Canadian market a shot in the arm, while developing the next generation of RV shoppers.

“A lot of them (Millennials) like to head into the woods and stay in a tent, but we’re trying to convince them to buy a popup or a lightweight, maybe.”