The numbers for 2020 are in, and the US motorcycle and powersports industries had a surprisingly good sales year in 2020.
According to the Motorcycle Industry Council Retail Sales Report, the US saw the powersports segment rise by 18.4 percent in 2020, with motorcycle and scooter sales rising by 11.4 percent.
It’s a massive change from what everyone expected last March. When the coronavirus pandemic hit the US, the motorcycle industry was filled with doom and gloom, expecting a scenario worse than the 2008 financial crash. With dealerships closed in many areas, how would they sell new bikes? With job losses in almost every sector, would anyone even have money for new bikes? And with motorcycle manufacturing facilities shut down in Europe, Asia, and the US, would there even be any bikes to buy?
As it turns out, the industry did very well. Once the situation stabilized by late spring, sales bounced back. Dealerships opened their doors, and even figured out new ways to sell motorcycles without face-to-face contact. With vacations and other plans canceled, people were looking for new ways to have fun while socially distancing, and motorcycles did the job. Offroad bikes did especially well, with parents buying dirt bikes for their kids and themselves.
As per the MIC’s press release: “Sales of on-highway motorcycles, which include scooters and dual-purpose bikes, were steady compared with 2019, while interest in off-highway motorcycles spiked, with sales up 46.5 percent year-over-year … Sales of ATVs also jumped, rising 33.8 percent over 2019.” Take note of that ATV sales success: Those aren’t motorcycles, but they go a long way towards keeping motorcycle dealers in business.
It’s too early in 2021 to tell what will happen this year. Some dealers are worried they’ll suffer, with many customers buying bikes last year and not looking to replace them just yet. However, there’s still tires, oil, and other hard parts to sell, so hopefully it will all be OK.