February 4, 2022
By Kali Kotoski
With pandemic-related restrictions pushing consumers to find new and renewed ways to recreate, the motorcycle industry is seeing a renaissance after nearly a decade of stagnation spurred by the global financial meltdown of 2009, which zapped American’s appetite for purchasing two-wheel vehicles.
Propelled by a mix of increased savings as the COVID-19 pandemic largely shut down the service industry while purchasing power increased, data shows that motorcycle sales are enjoying double-digit growth for the second year running.
For the full year of 2021, sales of all on-road motorcycles are up 14.2 percent, according to data released by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), a not-for-profit trade association that represents motorcycle manufacturers.
“This is the second consecutive year of significant growth across powersports,” said Erik Pritchard, president and CEO of the MIC. “Many new motorcyclists are joining the riding community, both on and off road.”
The unprecedented growth in motorcycle sales comes as the passenger vehicle industry has struggled to meet demand amidst supply-chain bottlenecks, rising inflation, skyrocketing used car sales, and a major semiconductor chip shortage showing the weakness of relying on global trade in times of global health emergencies.
According to the MIC’s Retail Sales Reporting System, which gathers motorcycle sales data from 14 manufactures and distributors in U.S. market, sales for all motorcycle categories combined are up 21.8 percent since 2019.
On-highway motorcycle sales are up 12.9 percent over 2020, while off-highway and dual-purpose motorcycles have seen two-year increase in sales of 42.9 percent and 46.2 percent, respectively.
Despite the increased sales, the motorcycle industry hasn’t been spared from supply chain bottlenecks and global shortages, Ducati North America CEO Jason Chinnock explained to Newsweek. He added that customer sentiment has largely accepted product delays and consumers have patiently moved to ordering motorcycles in advance.
Ducati had its best year ever in 2021, with American sales (the company’s largest market) posting a 32 percent increase, while global sales hit a 24 percent increase.
While the MIC did not weigh in on the factors that have led to such growth, it is fair to say that as pandemic-related restrictions and recommendations led to more people looking for socially distanced, fun activities that took advantage of nature, motorcycles have become a go-to option. That sentiment is also represented in the growth of motorcycle skills training, with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation seeing an estimated 48 percent increase in enrollment in 2021 over 2020.
Know one of these new riders? Encourage them to join the AMA, where they can enjoy the many benefits membership, including the vital work of our Government Relations staff, riding activities, amateur racing, American Motorcyclist magazine delivered to their door and much more.