Motorcycle Market Trends in Japan

Motorcycle Study

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) has release the results of the survey it conducted on Japan’s motorcycle market for the most recent fiscal year ending March 31, 2010.

Targeting new-motorcycle-model purchasers primarily, JAMA conducts this survey in odd-numbered years in order to track changes in Japan’s continuously evolving motorcycle market.

Based on 5,575 responses, the results of the survey of new-model purchasers are summarized as follows, as are the results of two adjunct surveys, one on consumer perceptions of motorcycle use and the other on motorcycle dealer outlets.

1) Survey of New-Model Purchasers

  • Motorcycle ownership among young men and women in their late teens and twenties declined. The decline was sharpest among young women in their twenties, with users in this group shrinking to half the level reported in the 2007 survey.

  • On the other hand, ownership increased among men and women in their fifties or older, confirming once again that motorcycle ownership is more common among older adults than younger ones (average owner age: 47.4 years).

  • Replacement demand accounted for over half (57%) of the total number of new-model purchases. The decline in first-time purchases continued, thereby revealing a sustained trend.

  • Of survey respondents, 22% reported having experienced tandem riding on expressways, up from the 19% recorded in 2007.

  • Respondents who indicated they wanted to continue riding motorcycles in the future totalled 92%, up from the 89% recorded in 2007.

2) Survey of Consumer Perceptions of Motorcycle Use

  • For respondents who were first-time purchasers of a motorcycle, determining factors in their purchasing decision were economic and utilitarian (“good fuel efficiency,” “low maintenance costs,” “shortened travel time”).

  • Among respondents who had never owned a motorcycle, a large percentage asserted that motorcycles were appealing for their “easy mobility, even in congestion,” although many also indicated that the actual purchase of a motorcycle held no appeal for them whatsoever.

  • Some 60% of owner as well as non-owner respondents concurred with the statement “Motorcycles excel in environmental performance,” with 20% of all survey respondents affirming that they would consider a first-time or replacement motorcycle purchase if “more eco-friendly models” were introduced.

  • Respondents who were motorcycle users confirmed the continuing shortage of motorcycle parking bays in large cities including Tokyo (particularly in its western wards) and Osaka.

3) Survey of Motorcycle Dealer Outlets

  • Dealer respondents stressed the importance of a “trustworthy atmosphere,” “explanations that are easy to understand,” “thorough explanations of maintenance requirements and procedures,” and “clear indication of vehicle purchase prices and related costs,” concurring, on these criteria, with customer expectations (see below).

  • Customer respondents in this survey indicated that their expectations when visiting dealer outlets were a “trustworthy atmosphere,” “explanations that are easy to understand,” “thorough explanations of maintenance requirements and procedures,” “clear indication of vehicle purchase prices and related costs,” “availability of test rides,” “ample product-viewing space,” “extensive model displays,” and “accessory displays.”

  • The survey revealed, however, discrepancies between the degree of value placed on stipulated criteria and the extent to which customers were satisfied with dealer performances in fulfilling those criteria.