All over the world, many industries have been battling to survive the pressures of an economy ravaged by pandemic conditions. Whether struggling to meet demand or struggling to sell their stock, the limitations that Covid-19 introduced certainly caused many sectors to panic.
There are some industries, however, that have experienced an unprecedented boom despite the world-wide pandemic, and the U.S. motorcycle industry is one of them.
What is it that has caused this sector to maintain such strength in sales throughout such a turbulent period? Will this boom continue into 2021 and beyond?
First, the figures…
Spring has sprung, and with the hibernation of the Covid winter falling away, people the world over are taking to the open road for a much needed sense of freedom. Over in Europe, year-on-year sales of new motorcycles are up a sizable 10.3% for Q1 2021, and manufacturers have been reporting their own rises. Ducati announced a 33% rise and Harley Davidson reported a 9% rise for the same period.
In the United States, the story is much the same. According to a May 2021 report published by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), motorcycle sales in the U.S. are up in Q1 by more than 37% when compared to the first quarter of 2020. Interestingly, the industry group also reported that these figures aren’t representative of only one type of bike, either. It appears that Americans are desperate to get out and about on just about any type of two-wheeler they can – and they are happy to buy new, too.
The MIC reported upon data gathered from 14 leading distributors and manufacturers of motorcycles and scooters across America. After collating the most recent industry data, the group confirmed that the sector has had four straight quarters of solid sales growth, with no slowing down in sight.
Tire sales figures are also demonstrating that the trend may not be a fleeting one. In a statement, MIC CEO and president, Erik Pritchard said, “Combine the new-motorcycle sales performance with the pace of tire sales and we know that more riders are putting on more miles. We hope that indicates that riding is becoming a larger part of consumers’ lives.”
Not surprisingly, dual-sports bikes represented the greatest increase, up by a staggering 47%. Meanwhile, off-road bike sales were up 45.4% and scooters sales figures rose 34.6%. On-road motorcycles climbed by 31.4% for the same period.
What is driving this motorcycle boom?
The anticipated impact of the pandemic on the worldwide economy had virtually everyone expecting the worst. A variety of industries, however, have experienced quite the opposite, and have been able to maintain sales consistency, or even witness significant growth.
Most of the industries that have experienced the greatest resilience and growth despite Covid, are those that are directly related to improving the lockdown experience. Home improvement industries have been booming, including desks and computer equipment, as everyone has used the lockdown as an opportunity to improve their home environments as well as their work-from-home experience.
People inspired for new activities
According to Motorcycle Safety Lawyers, being stuck at home for months on end has led people to explore new ways of getting out and, given the socialization restrictions and fear of spreading the virus, hopping onto a motorcycle is an attractive solution:
“Those that already owned motorcycles recognised that it was an ideal time to buy a new one and enjoy it in the comfort of less busy roads, and those that had always wanted to get into motorcycle riding equally saw the quieter times as the perfect opportunity.”
The pandemic conditions created the perfect conditions for first-time riders to take to the roads with more room and time to practice the new skill of riding with much more confidence.
Additionally, those fortunate enough to not lose their jobs or experience any pay cuts were left with more disposable income than usual. Less time spent out and about created savings that could then be put towards a new pursuit, and whilst this wasn’t the case for everyone, this was the reason that some were able to purchase a motorcycle.
Will this growth continue?
So far, there is no end to this industry’s growth in sight, with this current quarter set to continue the trend. As interest rates remain low and the demand for motorcycles remains constant, the sales figures are continuing to surge. Motorcycle companies across the U.S are expecting 2021 to close out as another strong year for them and the industry as a whole.
It will be interesting to see if this prediction comes to fruition. So long as the pandemic conditions continue to ease, and global shipping can keep up with the demands, the shift towards hitting the open road and feeling the wind in your hair without a Covid care could well stick around for some time to come.