FCAI Sales Summary Q1 2024 & Motorcycle Market Brand Consideration Report

Updated: May 01, 2024 | |

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) recently released its Q1 sales figures, giving a peek inside the Australian motorcycle industry. However, due to gaps in the FCAI’s figures stemming from major dealers not disclosing their sales, we have also included the findings from our latest Motorcycle Market Brand Consideration Report, to provide a comprehensive look at the state of the Australian motorcycle market in Q1 2024. 

Read on for our insights, and be sure to check out our other Q1 reports on the truck, caravan, and tractor industries!

Motorcycles: Decline Across the Board

In the first quarter of 2024, the motorcycle industry, including Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV), witnessed a noticeable decline in sales. A total of 19,903 units were sold during this period, marking an 11.0% decrease compared to the same period in 2023.

This downturn reflects broader economic pressures and potential shifts in consumer spending priorities within the automotive sector, as high interest rates and an ever-increasing cost-of-living have caused a pullback in discretionary spending, massively impacting the purchases of big ticket, ‘fun’ purchases such as street and dirt bikes.

Segment-Specific Trends

Road Motorcycles

These vehicles remained a significant portion of the motorcycle market, accounting for 41.3% of the total sales. However, sales for road motorcycles dropped to 8,217 units, a 10.2% decrease from the previous year.

Off-Road Motorcycles

Making up 36.5% of the total sales, off-road motorcycles also experienced a decline. The sales for this category reached 7,260 units, down by 11.9% compared to 2023.

Off-Highway Vehicles

Sales in this segment saw a substantial decrease of 16.1%, totalling 2,976 units and accounting for 15% of the overall sales.

Scooters

Contrasting with the overall downward trend, scooters saw a slight increase in popularity. Sales rose by 1.1%, with 1,450 units sold, which constituted 7.3% of the total market.

Market Dynamics

The decline in overall motorcycle sales is proof of the impact of the rising cost of living and increased interest rates in Australia. These factors have compelled consumers to reassess their discretionary spending, especially on luxury and recreational items such as motorcycles. Accompanying this general downturn, the increase in scooter sales underscores a shift in consumer preferences towards more economical and practical transportation options.

Scooters offer significant advantages for urban commuting, including easier parking, quicker commute times, and lower fuel costs, making them a more attractive option amidst financial constraints. This trend may indicate a shift in market dynamics, where practicality and economy become pivotal considerations in consumer transportation choices.

Q1 2024 Motorcycle Market Brand Consideration Report

Following on from our 2023 Motorcycle Market Brand Consideration Report, the Q1 2024 report paints a fairly similar picture, with some notable changes.

This report tracked 36 brands, 854 models and 37,149 keywords and search terms, comprising more than 7m searches across the quarter. To ensure we are keeping up with changes and developments in the market, we also added 31 new models that are releasing in Q1 and Q2 of 2024.

The impact of these new models was seen immediately in several categories, such as the Adventure Touring category, where both the CFMOTO 450MT and the Honda NX500 cracked the top 20 most-searched models, or the Yamaha XSR9000 GP, which claimed position 9 in the Super Sports category, despite it not releasing until June.

But one of the most interesting developments we saw was in the Adventure Touring category, where search volume grew 0.2% overall across the quarter, in spite of the leading model, the Royal Enfield Himalayan, seeing an almost 15% decrease in its search share. Whether this shift heralds bad news for the Himalayan remains to be seen, but it is certainly one we will be watching closely

Read on for more insights and intrigue!

 

The Most-Searched Motorcycle Brands in Australia

Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Harley Davidson were the most-searched brands throughout Q1 2024, with Yamaha seeing a 5.4% increase to its search share, Kawasaki experiencing a -1.5% decrease, and Harley Davidson overtaking Honda to claim third place, following a 7.4% increase in its search share between Q4 2023 and Q1 2024.

Most other brands in the top 10 experienced moderate gains in their search share, with the exception of KTM, who saw a -4.4% change, although this did not affect their overall position.

Most-Searched Models - All Brands

This section of the report looks at the most-searched models across all motorcycle brands. As in our previous report, this section was dominated by searches for supersport bikes. In fact, of the top-10 most-searched models, seven were what we would consider superbikes: high-performance, high-powered, and high-priced bikes such as the BMW S 1000 RR, Kawasaki H2, Yamaha R1, and Suzuki Hayabusa.

The remaining three bikes (Kawasaki Ninja 400, Honda Grom, and Yamaha PW50) comprise two mid-range bikes and one children’s dirt bike, with the Grom and the Ninja 400 having been discontinued by their manufacturers.

Interestingly, the volume of searches for the Grom has remained relatively stable over the past three quarters, while searches for the Ninja 400 nearly doubled between Q4 2023 and Q1 2024 – no doubt in response to rumours of it being discontinued circulating online towards the end of last year.

Outside of the Grom, Ninja 400, and PW50, searches for superbikes in the top 10 has (with the exception of the Hayabusa) been trending steadily upward over the past 12 months, confirming what we already knew: that flashy, flagship bikes generate a lot of searches, but not a lot of sales.

Most-Searched LAMS

The search market remains competitive in the LAMS category, with Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha all competing for the top spot, with Royal Enfield slightly behind, and KTM, Suzuki, BMW and Harley all sitting under 10% each.

Interestingly, although Honda retains the top spot, its search share has decreased steadily from 23.4% to 22% since Q2 2023. Meanwhile, Kawasaki’s has grown from 19.8% to 21% over the same period, while Yamaha and Royal Enfield have also witnessed slight gains, moving from 17.9% to 18%, and 12.9% to 13%, respectively.

Elsewhere in the top 10, KTM and BMW have experienced marked year-on-year declines, moving from 8.9% to 8%, and 2.8% to 2% respectively over the period assessed, with Suzuki (4.8% to 5%) Harley (1.9% to 2%) and CFMOTO (0.9% to 1%) making minor gains.

ATVs and UTVs

This section is different to our previous report and looks at the most-searched models in the ATV and UTV category, as opposed to the most-searched brands. However, despite this difference in the data set, the standout remains Polaris, with 5 of the top-10 most-searched models in the category.

What is interesting to note though is that the two most-searched models, the Polaris RZR Trail 1000 Premium EPS and the RZR Turbo R Sport EPS, are both sports side-by-sides, and not working UTVs as we might expect. This is in contrast to Can Am, who hold position three and four with the Defender and Outlander, a traditional farm UTV and ATV.

This contrast is also seen throughout the top-10, where, with the exception of the Polaris RZR XP 1000 and the Yamaha YXZ1000RR, the remaining models are all farm UTVs and ATVs. What this indicates is a similar problem to what we see in the most-searched models across all brands, where flashy and expensive sports models dominate the searches ahead of models that people are actually buying.

Discontinued Models

This section covers models that have been discontinued by their OEMs and are only available on the second-hand market. Overall, the discontinued category is dominated by Japanese brands, with Honda holding 10 of the top 20 positions.

The Honda Grom sits miles ahead of the competition, with 48.6% of searches over the last quarter, well clear of the second-place Kawasaki KLX250S, at only 9.2%. Overall, the preference within the discontinued category is for dirt bikes, with only four models in the top 10 – the Honda Grom, Yamaha XVS650, BMW R 1200 RT, and Honda CB300F – sitting outside this category.

For dealers, staying informed of consumer interest within the discontinued category is crucial to maximising trade-ins and preventing money becoming tied up in models for which there is no desire on the second-hand market.

Dirt Bikes

This section covers searches for dirt bike models. This category is one of the most competitive amongst all those we researched, led by KTM with 7 of the top 20 most-searched models, followed by Honda and Yamaha with 5 models each.

Interestingly, the top 10 features several children’s bikes, with the KTM 50 SX and Yamaha PeeWee 50 claiming position 1 and 2 with 16.3% and 11.8% respectively, and the KTM 65 SX in position 5 with 3.5% search share.

With a substantial portion of the overall search share accorded to children’s bikes, there is a significant opportunity for brands to capture young riders early in their journey and build brand loyalty – something that is especially valuable in such a competitive category. 

Road Bikes

This section covers searches for all road bikes, regardless of their individual category. As we saw in the all models category, searches were dominated by high-performance supersports bikes such as the Yamaha YZF R-1, Ninja H2R, and Ducati Panigale V4.

As we mentioned earlier, all this tells us is that high-profile bikes generate a lot of searches – nice to know, maybe, but not a lot of value for dealers.

Despite this, the back end of the top 10 was filled with regular road bikes, including the Honda CB650R, Kawasaki Z400, Royal Enfield Himalayan, and KTM 390 Duke.

In fact, positions 10 through 20 were filled almost entirely with mid-range bikes: cruisers, tourers, and adventure bikes.

Moreover, the back of the pack was far more competitive in terms of search share, with only a 0.6% difference between the 10th-ranked KTM 390 Duke, and the 20th-ranked Honda CB500X.

So, while the majority of searches may go to superbikes, there is a strong contingent of everyday riders out there looking for a solid, mid-range bike for their daily commute or weekend cruise, and it is these riders who will make a difference to a dealership’s bottom line.

Trust Retain Media for Automotive Insights

Overall, while there are some promising signs for the Australian motorcycle industry, 2024 seems set to be a challenging year. Although search patterns in certain segments might indicate that consumer confidence is returning to the industry, the continued decline in sales figures is indicative of ongoing financial pressures that consumers are unlikely to escape from any time soon.

Until then, we will continue to monitor Australians’ search habits and bring our insights to you each quarter. If you’re interested in learning how the wider Australian automotive industry is performing, be sure to read our other reports on the truck, caravan, and agricultural sectors, and don’t forget to download the data and dive into the report below!

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