SIGNS OF THE TIMES

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

It was with great interest I read through the vehicle sales figures for 2020. I think we can all agree the less said about 2020 the better, putting that chapter behind us, as we move headfirst into 2021…….

But a thought has been playing around in my brain. Although all past economic crises have given us great pain and suffering, I have seen the following in my past 20 years researching and consulting to this industry:

The strong and adaptable thrive.
The average just barely survive.
The weak….well, don’t survive.

The retail sector has taken a massive amount of pain over this past year, yet retail has not stopped, but slowed. So, there are still customers out there, and they gravitate to the excellent retailers, don’t they?

Looking at the motor vehicle sales figures, those numbers are down 30,6% versus 2019 (an on-going downward trend for the past decade, hit even harder by Covid in 2020). When it comes to the motorcycle industry, that number is down 1% (20644 units versus 20862 units in 2019).

1 %.
One.
Percent.

My first thought is what a performance: survival of the fittest! But then by digging a bit further the story adds more intrigue. Commercial sales were up, the leisure market down. Down by 15%, mind you, with those monthly figures, as up and down as Pacific Ocean waves in storm season.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

But the story continues, with supply chain issues meaning a shortage of some stock, and the caution of the customer mindset also means a drop in demand. Having said that, by all accounts, used leisure bike sales did see a positive spike, possibly as a result of the stock shortages and the price point the majority of these motorcycles retail at, so all is not lost. Supply and Demand, economics 101.

But 1%.

Commercial vehicles have a part to play here, we’ve seen a definite ramp up in at-home deliveries, which has resulted in small capacity motorcycles such as SYM’s XS 125 being in massive demand.

Photo credit: Julio Moreira / ZA Bikers

Going forward in this decade, I feel that the 2020 sales figures showed just how resilient our industry is, how our industry has put its head down and been amazing. For us, as customers, this is good news. We are still out there (as evidenced by the sales last year) and we are looking for all of the key factors: value for money, great deals, longer warranties, better support and so on.

If you are in the fortunate position in this Covid world to have the means to be a motorcycle customer, now is the time. It is a definite buyer’s market. And I can think of nothing better than to thrive in this environment with a great (socially distanced) ride with my great friends.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The strong will survive and thrive.