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Old 7th July 2017, 10:49   #1
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Default USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade

Was rather surprised to read this article on Bloomberg, as the American market is otherwise the biggest (or second biggest) for cars & trucks. In 2016, about 17 million 4-wheelers were sold in America (India is at approximately the 2.5 million level).

Turns out, motorcycles are having it rough in the USA with sales falling down to 50% of what they were in 2006. Here are some stats to put things in perspective. 2016 USA 2-wheeler sales = 3.7 lakhs. India sold 17 lakh 2-wheelers in May alone (link to report).

A graph that says it all:
USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade-1200x1.png

What's more, it's the same (older) people buying motorcycles in the USA, not the millennials - related thread (The Cheapest Generation - Why Millennials aren’t buying cars or houses).

Quote:
And then there’s the generational time-bomb. In 2003, only about one-quarter of U.S. motorcycle riders were 50 or older. By 2014, it was close to half. The market has been cruising on a demographic that may only be able to buy one more bike.
Loads of small entry-level bikes coming in, including the Harley Street 500.

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Honda’s Rebel is the latest entry in a parade of new bikes designed for first-time riders; almost every company in the motorcycle industry has scrambled to make one. They are smaller, lighter, and more affordable than most everything else at a dealership and probably wouldn’t look out of place in the 1960s—back when motorcycling was about the ride, not necessarily the bike.
Source + Full Bloomberg Article
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Old 7th July 2017, 11:07   #2
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Default Re: USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
In 2016, about 17 million 4-wheelers were sold in America (India is at approximately the 2.5 million level).

2016 USA 2-wheeler sales = 3.7 lakhs. India sold 17 lakh 2-wheelers in May alone
They ride for pleasure, whereas we mostly ride for a livelihood.

The percentage of motorcycles bought for pleasure riding will be very less in our market. The Harleys, Triumphs and Kawasakis barely manage triple digit sales every month.

Coming to international sales - Yes and this is the main reason why you suddenly see a huge shift in focus of all the international brands towards entry level markets and beginner riders. Brands have realized that they need a diverse portfolio for survival. BMW tied up with TVS, KTM with Bajaj, Harley came out with the Street 750 and 500, Ducati with the Scrambler Sixty2 etc.

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 7th July 2017 at 11:10.
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Old 7th July 2017, 15:57   #3
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Default Re: USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade

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Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
They ride for pleasure, whereas we mostly ride for a livelihood.
Very true. Plus, on the east coast, you really can't ride due to the weather (4 months of the year).

Still, this trend shows that even the number of enthusiast motorcyclists has been shaved off by 50% (or more). That's a worrying trend.
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Old 7th July 2017, 16:36   #4
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Default Re: USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade

What's shocking to me is how sudden the drop is, and that it's just flat-lined after that.

There's been no sort of recovery since the 2008 recession.

I feel like there's gotta be something more to this... (legislative changes? insurance hikes for 2-wheelers? something that changed public perception about motorbikes? etc)


Also, here's another interesting graph from the same article, showing the AGE of buyers/riders.

Interesting to see that the oldies are continuing their trend. It's the youngsters that have abandoned 2-wheelers:
USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade-1200x1.png

Last edited by Rehaan : 7th July 2017 at 16:40.
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Old 7th July 2017, 17:11   #5
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Default Re: USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade

While the numbers continue to have a downward trend I think the increased consumer preference towards shared economy could have a significant impact on the motorcycle sales. As mentioned by @CrAzYdRiVeR people ride for pleasure in a country like the USA. This has been made a lot easier with the increased availability of renting companies. The global motorcycle rental market is expected to grow by 4% ( Source)

People who buy motorcycles in a country like US on an average clock around 2000-4000 miles per year (I couldn't find the exact number online but this should be realistic as mentioned here ). This could be done over few trips as most of the people don't use bikes for regular commutes. With such requirement renting a bike makes more sense than buying it. One can save a lot on depreciation and also maintenance.

It would be interesting if the motorcycle rental data can be obtained for the same period. This could help to see if there a correlation but I couldn't get any such data online.
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Old 7th July 2017, 23:52   #6
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Default Re: USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade

Awesome data, i am sure who can figure a way to turn this around can make a killing. Many of the reasons are in the article, but one critical point may be pricing. An entry level bike here costs atleast $5000. At that price a customer in india can get like 5 splendors for each day of the week. Also at that price you can get a decent used car.

Also majority of the commute is on freeways, speed limit is 65. Strong push for entry level bikes are needed. Harley is the big boy here and most of their customers are in the above 40 generation, so the young ones really need to be passionate for bikes to be buying one.

One may note a big pick in numbers of motocross bikes. People love the dual purpose of its on street and off street performance and certain movies and cults like the 12oclock boys of baltimore have helped increase sales.

Last point: Finding a motorcycle mechanic other than dealerships are still hard in some areas and expensive. Heck a used corolla can be fixed in any store, but a used bike would need a qualified mech for it. Most car guys wont touch it.

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Old 8th July 2017, 00:52   #7
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Default Re: USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade

Surprising news but this ain't gonna happen in India. Why? Because in India, population is huge. More population = greater traffic density. Leave livelihood, using a bike for commuting is a less exhausting affair in our great traffic conditions. In bikes you can zig-zag and do something and move ahead and reach your destination faster.

I have 3 cars at my disposal yet I find myself using my motorcycle very often. (Don't really like being driven)

And then of course, biking gives me a pleasure that no other car can...but that's another story for another day.
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Old 14th July 2017, 21:24   #8
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Default Re: USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade

Millennials are wrecking America's most iconic motorcycle brand

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It turns out millennials don't "live to ride" like their parents and grandparents did.

Alliance Bernstein downgraded Harley-Davidson (HOG) to market performance from outperform Wednesday following results from a recent survey that predicts no growth in bike sales as millennials enter HOG's target demographic.

The call is "based on increased conviction that motorcycle demand in the US is in the throes of secular erosion, combined with weakened conviction in the materialization of near-term catalysts," wrote AB analyst David Beckel in Wednesday's note.

"Our data suggests the younger Gen Y population is adopting motorcycling at a far lower rate than prior generations," Beckel added. "Gen Y's are aging into the important 'pre-family' cohort of riders and Boomers are increasingly handing over their keys to the smaller Gen X population."

Correcting its previous prediction, Alliance Bernstein set its new 12-month price target lower at $55, representing six percent upside. It previously expected a 20 percent gain in the next year.

"For a variety of reasons, we now believe it is hard to imagine a scenario in the medium term where unit sales growth in the US breaches 0% on a consistent basis," continued the analyst.

Since Alliance Bernstein's initiation 10 months ago, new bike sales have persistently missed due to demographic shifts. Declines in pre-family (aged 25-35) and post-family (aged 45-70) cohorts show millennials, the largest age group outside of boomers, have little interest in riding motorcycles.
https://www.bikerspost.com/article/1...torcycle-brand
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Old 14th July 2017, 23:37   #9
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Default Re: USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade

Atleast in many parts of California and Arizona (states where you can ride year round), the roads are so boring that even a diehard biker like me would never ride a bike there. Add to that the BIIIIG trucks doing 80+ mph. There's just no fun riding a bike there. I hardly saw like 2-3 bikes an hour when traveling between LA or Fresno and Grand Canyon. And again, all of the bikers I saw were not young. I would wholeheartedly agree with this article.
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Old 15th July 2017, 00:26   #10
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Default Re: USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade

I think most of the car and motorcycle enthusiasts this world saw were in late 70s then 80 and 90s. Since 2000s, it seems to be on the wane. Today's youngsters or millennials seem to show more interest in electronic gadgets like mobiles and computers than in cars/motorcycles. Heck, even cars look like electronic gadgets. Google self-drive cars, Teslas etc. etc. And, we do not have Google/Tesla equivalents on two-wheels. Not that I want to see one. That would be so boring.
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Old 15th July 2017, 07:46   #11
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Default Re: USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade

This is really good news! I'm glad I'm here to see this day and I reckon this downtrend is bound to continue. Thankfully, this motorcycle menace is much lesser in Europe and this is only bound to become lesser. It's the most unsafe piece of equipment to travel and something that has to be confined to the realms of a proper race track. Looks like the newer generation have finally come of age moving onto other safe options.

Will such a trend ever trickle into India? I'd be extremely glad to see that diminishing trend happen especially when living in a chaotic city like Chennai that boasts the highest number of these unsafe machines. Wishful thinking indeed!

Last edited by swiftdiesel : 15th July 2017 at 07:49.
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Old 15th July 2017, 08:14   #12
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If even 20% of every motorised two wheeler on the road were to be replaced by a car each, the road infrastructure would get absolutely choked in India. I'd be careful what I wished for. If it has to happen, it should be a very gradual trend, and the bikes should be replaced by electric cars, not today's gas guzzlers.
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Old 15th July 2017, 08:37   #13
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Default Re: USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade

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Originally Posted by swiftdiesel View Post
Will such a trend ever trickle into India? I'd be extremely glad to see that diminishing trend happen especially when living in a chaotic city like Chennai that boasts the highest number of these unsafe machines. Wishful thinking indeed!
Chennai? I think Bangalore outdoes it by two times if not slightly more (close to 40 lakhs) but that study is about 2 years old so don't know if Chennai and Pune have caught up.

I agree, two-wheelers are being overused and abused in today's context, from delivery boys carrying huge bags on them, to ferrying pipes/construction materials to the Dukes and Pulsars being misused as track bikes in commuter roads, I've had enough. I've never been a bike person and I guess I never will be even though I have riding experience.

Bajaj, Hero, Honda, KTM etc have milked enough out of India.. time for the trend to thin out from the streets and be used exclusively on the tracks. Those genuine few people who need a 2-wheeler as the sole mode of transport are fully justified in doing so.
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Old 15th July 2017, 08:57   #14
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Default Re: USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade

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Chennai? I think Bangalore outdoes it by two times if not slightly more (close to 40 lakhs) but that study is about 2 years old so don't know if Chennai and Pune have caught up.
Yeah, this was based on a survey some 2 years ago I think. But, unfortunately, the traffic scene isn't any better here.

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Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
I agree, two-wheelers are being overused and abused in today's context, from delivery boys carrying huge bags on them, to ferrying pipes/construction materials to the Dukes and Pulsars being misused as track bikes in commuter roads, I've had enough. I've never been a bike person and I guess I never will be even though I have riding experience.
Exactly. I don't have anything against bikers enjoying a nice ride. But people invest in these machines (in India) to nip through traffic, cut across cars, perform sudden manoeuvres just because they can and basically jeopardise everyone's safety in the process. It's even worse on the highway where bikers forget they're more prone to serious injury than other vehicle users and yet ride like they've lost their will to live.

If this trend is gonna make people shift to more safer options, I'm all for it.
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Old 15th July 2017, 11:01   #15
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Default Re: USA: Motorcycle sales fall by 50% in a decade

Have Never been a Car Guy. For me Cars are just a way to commute comfortably / travel with Family.

But two wheelers do make sense in India for commute. Specially with their low running costs and in our 'choc-a-bloc' traffic. The other day when it was raining in Gurgaon I would have reached home in at least 3.0-3.5 hours from my office to residence had I been in my car compared to the 40 mins that happened since I was on my Navi..!!

And that is exactly the reason I have got myself a Navi.. i.e to COMMUTE. The day I would get myself a motorcycle, I would ride it only for Pleasure/Leisure.

In first world countries like USA Motorcycles are for ridden mostly as Hobbies. Its natural that the growth in 2 Wheelers is declining there.
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