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How Has the Pandemic Affected Motorcycle Sales?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everything in our world. Personally and publicly, people across the globe feel COVID’s weight daily. Many businesses are also feeling the weight of it due to their reliance on people to visit their business. Manufacturing, restaurants, and all events have taken significant hits, which might have led some to believe that the motorcycle industry, being as fickle as it is, would have followed suits, but it has been quite the contrary. Amidst extreme economic hardship, the motorcycle industry is thriving during this pandemic. 

2020 was already shaping up to be a better year than in 2019, showing a 3.5-percent increase in February from the previous year, according to Motorcyles Data. Once the pandemic hit and the chaos of March and April set in, most people expected to see the motorcycle industry trailing behind the auto industry in plummeting sales numbers

From the ashes

A man rides a motorcycle in the Ulagan District.
Motorcycle on a dirt road | Tatyana ValkoTASS via Getty Images

In early June, once things were starting to settle, the Motorcycle Industry Council reported that Powersports sales were up from the past three years. Cycle World says that although Powersports includes ATVs, hunting buggies, side-by-sides, and motorcycles, off-highway bike sales were up 18.9 percent from that same date last year. 

Cycle World goes on to report similar findings across major motorcycle brands like Ducati, BMW, and Honda. There are several contributing factors at work here. In an interview with Cycle World, Roy Olimuller lays out a few reasons for this uptick in sales. Quarantine fatigue must be playing a significant role in the numbers we are seeing. Folks need to get outside and move around, and a motorcycle is a great, safe way to do that.

Olimuller also touches on the fact that motorcycle riding is the original socially distanced activity. It also requires PPE that looks way cooler than scrubs and a mask. 

Let’s get practical

Bikers are seen in midtown during the coronavirus pandemic
NYC bikers | Noam Galai/Getty Images

There is also a practical reason for this increase, personal transportation. As COVID-19 burned through the major cities in the early days of the pandemic, many people didn’t feel safe riding busses and trains for their daily commute.

Along with the fear of public transit and the lower traffic in major cities due to non-essential travel, it was a perfect time to have a bike in a big city. Less traffic equals safer road conditions. Less public interactions on the busses and trains meant for the first time in modern history; motorcycles looked like the safer and most practical option.

Stay safe. Stay healthy

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Seeing the financial devastation that COVID-19 caused might make the sales increase of non-essential, and in many cases, luxury items like motorcycles and ATVs seem hard to believe. For many people, these machines have become “essential.” Mental health has quickly become a real threat to our physical health due to prolonged isolation and time spent indoors. This equipment has allowed for a COVID-safe physical activity to do outdoors with the added possibility of riding with friends and family. Keep riding, and stay safe.