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Shortage of stock?

The slowdown of manufacturing at the start of the season, and the influx of new buyers into the marketplace (and subsequent lack of part-exchanges) has led to what we think is a shortage of used bike stock. But is this really the case?

Auto Trader Bikes saw no decline to audience numbers immediately following lockdown, and the number of people visiting the platform has been growing consistently over the Summer. Year to date, so far there have been an additional 11 million bike advert views than the same period last year. And with audience numbers in October 42% ahead of last year, this trend could be set to continue.

As well as this increase in demand for bikes, prices have also been steadily rising. In October the average price of a used bike on Auto Trader was £7,216 – a 7% increase on October 2019 when it was £6,719.  The bikes that sold during October 2020 were advertised a median of 27 days, a good indication of the speed of sale.  12 months back it was 36 days for the same metric.


And whilst we’ve seen this increased demand, last month the number of used bikes added to Auto Trader by retailers was up 16% versus October 2019, suggesting anything but a shortage in used stock, rather that bikes are just selling quicker than ever.

One obvious reason behind this, is the increase in demand for scooters and commuter bikes following the guidance around the avoidance of public transport. On Auto Trader, searches for scooters and mopeds went up by 32% in October versus last year, a point that we talked at length about in the national press to highlight the benefits of motorbikes for commuting.

The number of used scooters added to the site was up 17%, but the overall number of scooter adverts was actually down by -14%, demonstrating that these kinds of bikes are selling quickly, backed up by data showing us a median of 21 days to sell for October v 30 days for the same month last year.  This huge upsurge in the number of bikes being bought has also impacted the average price – in October the average price of a used scooter on Auto Trader was 13% higher than October 2019.

Even some of the older bikes that are popular for commuting are going up in value. Take the Honda CBF125 (not produced since 2015) – in October 2019 the average price of this bike on Auto Trader was £1,800, but this has increased by 38% to £2,477.  These findings are reinforced by the 16% YTD increase in registrations for 0-50cc bikes and 10% YTD increase in 50-125cc bikes being registered.

But it’s not just commuter bikes that are selling quickly. Amongst others, Custom/Cruiser bikes are a perfect example of where, despite more stock being added to the site than ever (+25% YOY), our overall numbers have declined (-18%), resulting in an overall increase in price (+10%).

One thing for certain is that whilst we usually work hard to convince retailers that buyers are still out there in the run up to Winter, this year it’s never been more obvious.  DVLA data tells us that there were 70,588 used bike transactions last Winter (November 2019 – January 2020), and we think that will be surpassed this year.

Paul Edmondson

Product lead





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