With US motorcycle sales stuck in a slump and aging riders, we wanted to get some perspectives on how the industry can get millennials into the sport. So while we were at AIMExpo decided to spend a few minutes with a motorcycle market expert.
Cycle Trader Expert
We met with Paige Bouma, a person who lives and breathes motorcycles. She often travels up to 40 weekends a year supporting her family at motocross events. But Paige is also the Vice President of Recreational Brands for Cycle Trader and RV Trader.
For those of you that may not know, Cycle Trader is a web resource designed to connect motorcycle buyers and sellers. It receives more than 3.1 million visits per year. As a result, Cycle Trader and Paige have a wealth of data from which to assess the market and draw conclusions.
With this in mind, we thought that she would have some pretty good insights into how the industry could attract millennials to motorcycling. After a brief chat, we got down to business and asked Paige, what the industry needs to do. Ultimately, she had some pretty interesting things to say.
Paige travels up to 40 weekends a year supporting her family’s motocross racing.
For the industry to attract Millenials Paige believes it must recognize a few things first.
- Millennials are the most educated segment of the current motorcycle market.
- 56% postpone a motorcycle purchase until they have paid off their school debt.
- Millennials are buying “smaller” bikes often 400cc or below.
- They will keep their small bikes and customize them to make them into what they want.
- Experiences play a key part in their lives so their bikes have to give them more than just a ride.
Attracting a millennial to motorcycling
So with this rather complex clientele, what should dealers and sellers do to entice the millennials to give motorcycles a try? Paige said that they need to follow “ACE”.
- A – Authenticity – the dealer has to come across as authentic and interested in the client. That they really want to help new riders and give them the benefit of their experience while asking potential riders what they want. This is their opportunity to develop a relationship and understand and meet their buyer’s expectations.
- C – Take advantage of “Community”. Dealers and sellers have to become part of and utilize online communities where millennials spend their time. Social media can be a huge tool to get millennial’s attention. If possible, become an “influencer” or partner with influencers. A very high percentage of millennials will trust an influencer that is a stranger. Participation in social media is hugely important. Use social media as a tool and ask the potential clients to “like” or share information you’ve posted. 68% of them will do so just because you asked. Develop and run contests that are attractive to the millennial age group. Contests will drive views and also prompt shares.
- E – Experience – make a visit to the dealership or your website valuable to millennials. Demonstrate that the dealership cares about them and others. For example, charity events, sponsoring riding education and legislation. Make sure you show that you care about them and others.
It seems that if we want to bring more millennial-aged riders into the motorcycling fold, we’ll have to show that we are interested in them, others and show that they are welcome. Use social media channels to drive the millennials’ engagement and excitement. And finally, cater to their experiential desires and concerns.
Courting millennial riders is far different than baby boomers. If the motorcycle industry can’t or won’t adjust, we risk dying a slow death as we age out.
So what do you think about the above observations? Would you do anything differently? What else could be done to court new millennial riders to motorcycling? Let us know in the comments below.