World motorcycle market forecast

Global demand to rise 7.6% annually through 2013

Global demand for motorcycles is forecast to rise 7.6 percent per year through 2013 to 114 million units, spurred by rising standards of living in poorer developing parts of the world, which are making motorcycles a more affordable alternative to walking, bicycling or using mass transit.

Higher energy prices, along with a rebound in economic growth after a recessionary period that began in a number of nations in 2008, will also contribute to motorcycle market gains in both developing and developed areas. Product sales will expand at a slower pace in value terms, climbing 7.2 percent annually to $66.6 billion in 2013, because of an expected decline in sales-weighted prices.

Some offsetting support will be provided by the introduction of new models equipped with sophisticated emissions control systems and increased sales of machines with more features, boosting motorcycle dollar demand.

Africa/Mideast, Asia/Pacific markets to grow the fastest

The strongest market advances through 2013 will be registered by the Africa/ Mideast region. This will be due to several factors, including the fastest population growth of any region in the world, the lowest median age and the lowest (but climbing) per capita GDP.

Population increases and higher standards of living will also help stimulate motorcycle sales in the Asia/Pacific region, which will post the second strongest gains, followed by Eastern Europe (rising from a very small current market base) and Latin America. China alone will account for 55 percent of all additional product demand through 2013, solidifying its position as the biggest national market by far for motorcycles. Growth is also expected to be healthy in lower volume markets such as Nigeria, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Product demand will expand at a more moderate rate in developed countries, where automobiles and other light vehicles are the primary form of personal transportation, and motorcycles are generally considered to be luxury goods used for recreational purposes. Nevertheless, high energy prices, city center congestion (especially in Western Europe) and personal income growth will provide some impetus to motorcycle sales advances in these areas.

Electric motorcycles to lead gains, ICE types to remain dominant

Electric motorcycles will register the strongest market growth of any major product type. Demand for battery powered bicycles, scooters and other two-wheelers will be driven by their generally lower purchase prices, low cost of operation and lack of harmful emissions. However, ICE motorcycles will continue to account for two-thirds of all sales. ICEs are a proven, widely accepted motorcycle powerplant technology, and improvements continue to be made in engine designs.

In addition, ICE motorcycles can travel further before needing to be refueled, and larger ICE models are more powerful than most currently available electric motorcycles. Light motorcycles — which offer greater power and better performance than scooters, mopeds and motorbikes, but have lower price tags and are less expensive to operate than medium and heavy motorcycles — will outperform other ICE product types and maintain their position as the largest single segment of the motorcycle market.

Study coverage

This new industry study, World Motorcycles, presents historical demand data (1998, 2003 and 2008) plus forecasts for 2013 and 2018 by motorcycle type, worldwide regional market as well as for 21 national markets. The study also considers market environment factors, evaluates company market share and profiles 38 competitors in the global industry.