How many motorcycles are owned in the U.S.?
In a 2018 survey, the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) revealed 13,158,100 households own bikes. Up 1,453,600 from the 2009 survey. In 2018, 8.02% of U.S. Households owned motorcycles for a total of 10,124,400. Up 1.08% from 6.94% in 2014 when 8,624,400 US households owned motorcycles. As Tim Buche, President and CEO of MIC said:
In 2014 this number was at 96% for bikes that were running.
The decline is to blame on the large number of used bikes that sit in storage or garages. You want to add a motorcycle to your household to read our blog on the three best off-road bikes.
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Aging Baby Boomers
About eight years ago, a recession sideswiped motorcycles sales, a knockdown for the industry, but not out. After-sales began to recover; another hit has slowed sales that is aging baby boomers are leaving motorcycling behind.
The younger potential buyer is not filling the gap. Some motorcycle insiders have sat down and held discussions on what can be done to bring the industry out of the slump. Many agree they need to make motorcycling more affordable as the cost is still holding sales at bay.
Some manufacturers believe they can attract young buyers by marketing bikes in the 300 cc range at lower prices even with ABS. Having that first ride a secure purchase for those getting into riding will entice them to spend more on a second bike once hooked.
As industry spokesman Matt King put it:
Even if you are a baby boomer, you are still into motorcycling and look great wearing Leather Motorcycle Pants for Men. Don’t let all this hype about the declining motorcycle market get you down check out our blog on buying exotic motorcycles.
What Are The 2019 Stats?
The global two-wheeler market is on the decline a 4.3% for the first half of 2019, with 30.2 million units sold. Motorcycle sales are down for the first six months of 2019.
Compare that to the first 1Q for 2018, and that is a 14.6% drop. Not all of the stats are in for 2019; let’s look at stats from previous years to get a better picture of the sales decline.
The U.S. manufacturers lean toward the larger, more expensive recreational motorcycle 601+cc. Third world countries, China, India, and Indonesia, sell more entry-level less-expensive bikes that are smaller in cc-displacement.
The number of U.S. registered new motorcycles declined in 2017 to 352,000 down 17,000 from 2013, which came in at 364,000.
The U.S. import sales fell from $2.1 billion in 2013 to $1.8 billion in 2017, a 14% loss in revenue.
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To Sum It Up
Two factors are partially to blame for the U.S. declining motorcycle market.
- Baby Boomers who are aging and into the massive, more expensive, larger-cc recreational bikes, are now opting out of motorcycle ownership
- Millennials, a population base much smaller than Baby Boomers, who are not large bike oriented, are buying the entry-level smaller models of motorcycles.
Industry insiders are considering marketing smaller, more affordable bikes to entice the younger buyer to get into motorcycling. Time will tell, think positive motorcycles will recover, and sales will improve in the coming years ahead.