Submitted by Elsie McElroy 14/01/2020
The motorcycle has always been a symbol of freedom in the American culture. The motorcycle has also became a recreational vehicle for an increasingly older generation. While there are concerns for the motorcycle industry fading out, there is hope for a revitalization as young people are genuinely having an interest in motorcycles due to lower overall travel and vehicle costs and new safety technology advancements. Therefore, the transportation industry should take in careful consideration of the vehicle market and the motorcycle industry to prepare the amount of investment for their business.
An interesting fact is that the median age for the average motorcyclist has been actually increasing and that the 2018’s median age is at 50 years old (Ultimate Motorcycle; Feb. 2019). This is could be implying the motorcycle is becoming more of a luxury as a fun activity. It’s becoming a vehicle that is taken out on weekends or weather friendly afternoons. Afterall, 24% of the population of motorcyclists are in the retirement age (Ultimate Motorcycle; Feb. 2019). This increase of using the motorcycle as a past-time could induce the transportation of motorcycles to increase as well. To explain, the drivers of the motorcycles are willing to go to motorcycle rallies or shows because the motorcycles are their activity and passionate interest.
Therefore, they are more willing to invest in motorcycles, especially with their average median wage is sitting at $62,500 (Ultimate Motorcycle; Feb. 2019). With more investment, it is more likely that they will be wanting to protect their interest with stable transportation of their motorcycle. In short, the transportation of motorcycle industry will be able to have a semi-stable relationship with the current standing of the motorcyclist population. On the flip side, the age medium could bring some concerns that motorcycle ownership is slowly losing popularity and the younger generations are less likely to learn how to drive a motorcycle, much less afford to buy one. For example, motorcycle companies like Harvey Davidson has been currently experiencing a dramatic drop in stock value.
In Jan.14, 2020, the motorcycle company’s stock is at a value of $35.53 in US currency compared in Jan. 16, 2015, at $63.20 in US currency (NYSE: HOG; Jan. 2020). That is almost half of the stock value in over five years. Some people could be becoming concerned that the market is failing to maintain a stable consumer audience and therefore would no longer require other related services, like motorcycle transportation and the like. However, these concerns are rather unfounded as according to an article by the Ultimate Motorcycle, as apparently the motorcycle is appealing to younger generations (Ultimate Motorcycle; Feb. 2019). This could likely be sourced to the overall costs of a motorcycle compared to a car. On average, the cheapest 2020 automobile is a Kia Forte is $18,715 compared to a 2020 BMW F 900 R, a motorcycle is $8,995 (Rider Magazine; Aug. 2019) (Gale; Sept. 2019).
Considering the dramatically different costs and, it likely that the motorcycle industry will gain a handful of customers for affordable transportation, which in turn would support the industry that is transporting the motorcycles within the country. However, the motorcycle will likely not replace the automotive at all due to its lack of carrying capacity and its high exposure to weather. Another indication that could possibly revitalize the interest in motorcycles is the increasing measure of safety technology that is being created and implemented in the motorcycle industry. One of the major dissauding factors for people to buy and drive motorcycles is the high death rate. Out of all vehicle crashes that happened in the United States, motorcycles take up 14% of all crashes (IIHS; 2019).
While this may not appear to be like a large percentage, it is actually extraordinarily significant considering the fact that only 8.2% of the US population owns motorcycles (Ultimate Motorcycle; Feb. 2019). With the high mortality rate due to the highly exposed design of the motorcycles, there are companies that are directly attempting to minimize the fatality rate and injuries through safety technology. For example, motorcycle companies are trying to develop motorcyclists’ jackets and vests that are capable of inflating the equivalent of airbags when sensors pick up a large impact to protect major organs and minimize damage to the chest (Nationwide; Feb. 2019). These technological advances could help make the motorcycle more appealing to the market as the companies are seeking to make it safer and lower the fatality rate.
Therefore, the increased interest of the motorcycle would inherently increase the interest of transportation of the vehicles. Finally, according to a recent study done by The Drive, the younger generation actually showed interest in motorcycles after doing a mini-crash course (Klein; Apr. 2019). They often cited their reasoning behind not getting motorcycles due to having no job security and low income that they could likely not support getting a motorcycle due to its being more of a leisure vehicle. However, it does appear that the economy looking fairly healthy, as unemployment is averaging at around 3.5% in 2020, which is significantly lower than the standard (Amadeo; Dec. 2019).
This, coupled with other factors like current Congress voting on bills that are dealing with minimum wages, could spell out a potentially hopeful future of a growing motorcyclist population, and therefore reinvesting in their transportation industry with a trustworthy company. The overarching reasoning behind analysing and contemplating the future of the motorcycle industry is because it can give insight for the transportation companies that are directly affected. Knowing if the market for a particular industry is booming or dying out in the future could make or break a vehicle moving company.
It could also give some indications if other similar markets are headed down a similar path. For example, considering that motorcycles are slowly fading away from the younger audience due to expenses and practicalities, it could mean that sport cars might possibly experience a similar slide of popularity. Either way, the results from the research done on the motorcycle industry, of the slowly stagenting pace, but a potential hopeful future could be taking place.