Year in Review: 2019 Motorbike Sales
There’s no way around it - 2019 was a rough year for the motorcycle industry in Australia.
Even though interest rates remained quite low (and unemployment throughout Australia was pretty low, too) the sales numbers for motorcycles, ATVs, and scooters were anything but positive.
In fact, sales of motorcycles throughout the country dropped 6.1% in 2019 compared to 2018.
Motorcycle sales figures in Australia have been trending downwards ever since 2016, a bumper year for motorcycle sales – with the fifth most motorcycles sold in Australia (and not all that far away from the all time annual sales record of 2009, either).
On the flip side, in 2019 just 89,199 motorcycles, ATVs, and scooters were sold.
Over 25,000 of the units sold in 2019 were either Fun bikes or LAMS bikes - typically lower value, lower margin and customers who are less likely to buy a lot or accessories or high margin accessories.
Every segment of the Australian motorcycle market has seen sales drop, with just one lone exception. It turns out that there’s still real demand for scooters in Australia. These continue to sell well, with year-over-year growth from 2018 to 2019 jumping up 15.85%.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the data.
Prestige / Euro Brands
Prestige and European brands are some of the most expensive motorcycles in Australia already, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that this segment of the motorcycle industry was hit so hard.
Sales dropped by 13.4% from 2018 to 2019, from 6,788 motorcycles in 2018 to 5,879 . This is a continuation of a multi year downward trend. BMW (the market leader in the prestige/Euro space) sold 2,470 - 12.6% in just one year.
All Marques saw a drop in 2019. Ducati who have seen heavy losses in units sold in recent years was the "best" of the euro brands only dropping 9.5% to 1,512 units.
Cruiser / Touring market
Cruiser sales were down in 2019 as well, though the drop wasn’t quite as severe compared to the prestige and European brands we highlighted just a moment ago.
Overall the market saw 7,265 cruiser motorcycles sold in 2019 compared to 7,891 cruiser motorcycles in 2018, a drop of 7.9% year on year. Since 2016, though, the market for cruiser motorcycles has dropped by 35.1% – a pretty precipitous drop-off to be sure.
6,462 Harley-Davidson motorcycles found new owners in Australia during 2019, a drop from 7,019 in 2018 (-7.93%).
Indian Motorcycle also saw sales figures dwindle, with Indian selling 33 less motorcycles from 2018 to 2019 (836 versus 803, respectively).
Sales data for the market share of Learner Approved Motorcycles (LAMs) has continued to track pretty steadily year after year in Australia, with 8 out of the top 10 best selling road motorcycles continuing to have the LAM designation and LAMS accounting for over 20,000 of the 31,981 road bikes sold in 2019.
As we made mention of earlier, the only segment that saw increases in sales was the scooter market of Australia.
In 2019, 5,014 scooters were sold compared to the 4,328 scooters that were sold in 2018 (an increase of 15.85% in just one year). The postie bike was a key driver of this growth in 2019 with a 85.8% increase in one year (from 597 units to 1,109 units)
Having said that Scooter sales in Australia have been growing pretty consistently from 2017 on, with more than five times as many new scooters sold in 2019 compared to 2017.
Honda has sold the most scooters for the last two years running, selling 4,778 scooters in 2019. Suzuki sold the second most amount scooters in 2019 throughout Australia, with 1,923 scooters finding new homes during that stretch of time. Vespa was right behind them, with 1867 scooters sold during 2019.
The off-road sector of the Australian motorcycle industry only slid 1.6% (to 34,841 units) compared to the year before (Vs road which dropped 11.9%), with almost all brands seeing a drop in sales across the board.
Honda (9,854 sales), KTM (5,781 sales), and Kawasaki (3650 sales) were the top three brands of dirt bikes sold in Australia during 2019, though of those three only Honda and Kawasaki saw their sales numbers go up from 2018.
Interestingly enough, dirt bikes were the most popular type of motorcycle to be purchased during 2019. These kinds of motorcycles gobbled up 38.5% of the Australian market, with traditional road bike motorcycles coming in second with 35.8% of the market.
ATVs / UTVs were able to capture 20.1% of the Australian motorcycle market share.
Even still, ATV sales were down 8.48% compared to 2018. Compare that to sales figures in 2016 (the most recent peak for ATV sales) and you’re looking at a drop of 21.6%.
All in all, 17,906 ATVs were sold in 2019. Polaris sold 5,119 of these. Honda dropped 856 units to finish almost level with Yamaha selling 3,749 & 3,748 units respectively.
BRP Australia, Suzuki, and Kawasaki rounded out the rest of the ATV sales numbers, combining for 5,290 vehicles sold in total.
2020 and 2021 will be a year of transition in the segment with all the majority of players either pulling out of the ATV market completely or in phased manner due top the additional safety regulation.