How motorbike sales have accelerated since lockdown restrictions were eased

Are you in the market for a new motorbike? You’re not alone. Several manufacturers, dealers and others in the industry have reported significant sales spikes since the easing of the UK lockdown began in early June.

One such business is the motorbike insurance provider Carole Nash. Head of product Mark Cooper commented: “We’ve seen an anticipated increase in sales in June, with various campaigns in the market and strong messages to avoid public transport leading more people to consider motorcycling. “

But how was the industry coping beforehand, and where can we expect it to go?

Positive 2019 sales figures

2019 may feel like a different world but it was a positive year for the industry overall. The Motorcycle Industry Association reported a total of 107,408 new registrations of motorcycles, scooters and other Powered Light Vehicles – a year-on-year increase of 1.5%.

Increased demand was particularly felt for smaller two wheelers, the lower capacity kinds commonly favoured by commuters and delivery services.

The annual increase continued an overall positive trend seen since the financial crisis.

The damaging effects of Covid-19 

Positive sales figures actually continued in January and February of this year, with annual increases of around 3% recorded in both. That was until the coronavirus crisis took hold and the UK was plunged into lockdown in mid-March.

With dealerships forced to close and bikers required to stay home to contain the virus, bike sales dropped drastically in March, April and May. April saw an unprecedented -84% decrease, before a slight bounce back to -50% in May.

Those figures don’t compare favourably to other European markets either. But, thankfully, there is potential cause for optimism.

A post-lockdown boom?

A combination of lockdown easing, manufacturer incentives and extra spare funds for some has led to positive signs of a trade boom. Pleasant weather and a reluctance to use public transport are other possible contributing factors – but it remains too early to be sure of a full recovery.

Mark of Carole Nash added: “With only a few months of the traditional motorcycle season left, we could see bikers reverting back to other methods of transport. The other concern is the financial strain this pandemic has placed on the country. If we were to enter another recession, would we see bike sales fall as we witnessed previously in 2008?”

The combination of Covid-19 and Brexit looks likely to signal a bumpy road ahead for the UK motorcycle industry.