The 2008 recession took away consumer’s discretionary income and with it, the potential to afford luxuries, like a motorcycle purchase, the way they had in the past. While eventually, the country regained its footing and motorcycle sales leveled out — they still haven’t gone back to what we saw before that 40% drop in 2008 – indicating a larger change in our industry.
We’ve heard it called the greying of our industry, and the data supports that trend. The average motorcyclist was 40 years old in 2009, but by 2018 — that number had risen to 50, so the demographic that has fueled our industry over the past twenty years is getting older and potentially aging out of the lifestyle. Instead of buying their first bike, they’re buying their last.
So, that begs the question — who is replacing these riders? In a perfect world, it would be the millennial generation, but they haven’t been buying bikes at the same rate as previous generations — and there’s the crux of our industry’s change. Younger riders just aren’t getting involved the same way their parents did, so it has left our industry, as a whole, to reevaluate how we can more effectively attract, engage and influence the new riders that are entering the market.