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Powersports Market Overview: Q3

The market has cooled considerably.

J.D. Power recently released its Market Insights: Powersports Q3 2023 analysis, in which it noted that the second half of the year has cooled off considerably, due to a more difficult trade environment and tougher finance conditions (i.e. higher interest rates).

Motorcycles

According to the data, in terms of average retail value, cruisers are trending 6.8% lower in the first 10 months of 2023 compared to the same time period in 2022, essentially falling back to pre-pandemic levels. Sport bikes have only fallen 2.8% in the current period but experienced a significant dip in the most recent quarter.

While online traffic views of cruisers and sport bikes rose in the first quarter and stayed steady in the second, views have started to fall in the third quarter, coinciding with the end of riding season. Cruisers remain the most-viewed category of motorcycle, taking 27% of the market share, followed closely by touring bikes at 23%. Harley-Davidson remains by far the top-researched brand for both categories (67% and 84% respectively), while other manufacturers remain in the single digits. For sport bike research, Kawasaki takes the lead at 26%, followed by Yamaha at 23%. The most researched model year for sport bikes is 2022 (17%), followed by 2021 (11%) — a great contrast to 2023 (7%), indicating that as the economy suffers, consumers are looking for ways to save money but still get some of the latest technology for their rides.

Side-by-Sides

J.D. Power found that the average retail value for utility side-by-sides has fallen 8.3% in the first 10 months of 2023 (compared to 2022), also putting them back near the pre-pandemic level. Sport side-by-sides have fallen an average of 6.2% in value but have not reached the low levels prior to 2021 as yet.

However, online traffic views of utility side-by-sides have risen, and while sport side-by-side views peaked in March of this year, declining somewhat during the second quarter, they have stayed steady since then.

Side-by-sides as a category have comprised 16% of online views in 2023 thus far (coming behind the cruiser and touring motorcycle categories mentioned above). Polaris is the most researched brand for side-by-sides, coming in at 58%, followed by Can-Am at 20%. The predominant model years consumers are searching for are 2021 (16%), 2020 (14%), 2022 (13%) and 2019 (13%) — again, a drastic difference from those searching for brand-new 2023 models (7%).

In sum, the market is starting to perform more like it did in 2019 levels than in the midst of the pandemic in 2021 (when valuations soared) or 2022 (when high valuations stabilized).

To download this data from J.D. Powersports, click here.

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