Following an uplift in registrations in September, data published by the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCIA) showed that registrations continued to grow in October, increasing by 0.8%. This reduced the year-to-date deficit to just 1.9% behind last year.
Whilst this is positive news, dealer feedback suggested that enquiries in October were generally behind last year. However, following two strong seasons, it was not unexpected that demand might ease. That said, some dealers have suggested the market has been more buoyant than it was in the pre-pandemic period in 2019, which is a positive.
The Honda Hornet has been a strong seller, whilst the newly launched BMW R1300 GS is generating significant interest.
Dealers and manufacturers will be hoping that the 2023 Motorcycle Live show at Birmingham’s NEC will boost interest for the forthcoming season.
Used Motorcycle Feedback
Used sales and enquiry levels have been more suppressed recently, partly due to new machines being more readily available. Although demand remains consistent across the board, larger sports machines are struggling. An ageing riding demographic has led to some dealers observing an increasing number of consumers part-exchanging their larger and heavier machines for something lighter and more manageable. That said, larger adventure machines remain desirable, particularly for couples looking to travel overseas for riding holidays. Dealers continue to see a strong influx of offers from the public, with some being offered more than they are selling. This has likely been reinforced this year as consumers choose to sell their machines as a result of financial constraints.
Following a very wet October, November started in a similar vein and now the clocks have gone back, daylight hours are nearing their minimum.
Taking this into account and elevated stock in the market, Glass’s expects values to continue to ease during the coming weeks.
As the weather has taken a nose-dive towards stormier conditions, the popularity of adventure bike reviews on MCN has increased, and it’s new metal that people are keen to read about – adventure bikes account for one in five of all reviews read on the website in the past month. Royal Enfield’s Himalayan claimed top place.
In sports bikes, the BMW S1000 RR being most popular isn’t much of a surprise, but the CFMoto 450SR weighing-in in second spot raised a few eyebrows. Aprilia’s RS660 rounds off the top three.
Triumph’s Trident 660 is the most popular naked bike, followed by a brace of Yamahas – MT-07 and MT-09 respectively.
Over on our bikes for sale section, once again it’s a Honda lockout, with the top three most popular bikes this month being the NC750X, the Gold Wing and the Africa Twin respectively.
The number of visits to Auto Trader Bikes increased by 10% compared to September 2022. This resulted in a cumulative year-to-date growth of 6% in the number of visits compared to the same period last year. Despite interest rates rising, buyers are still looking at finance to purchase their next bike, with the proportion of leads related to finance accounting for over one in four enquiries.
Used bike sales grew 3% year-on-year in September, maintaining a volume comparable to August. As observed in previous months, riders displayed a strong preference for motorcycles that are up to three years old along with adventure and naked bikes playing an important role in driving overall performance.
Lewis Norton Insight manager, Auto Trader Bikes
Used Bikes Sold
Median days to sell
With dealers replenishing stock quickly as used sales increased, supply continued to grow and outpace demand, resulting in used bikes on average taking eight days longer to sell than in September last year. Even with this slower speed of sales, used bikes still sold notably faster than pre-pandemic levels (on average 10 days faster). The fastest-selling bike in September 2023 was the Yamaha Ténéré 700, which took an average of just nine days to sell.
Market Health Year-on-Year
Demand for used bikes in September was slightly ahead of the previous year, but growth in supply continued to outpace it, resulting in a negative market health of -7% on a year-on-year basis. Demand remained marginally higher overall, with newer bikes (up to one year old) seeing the biggest improvements, although with the market bouncing back from supply constraints, these have also seen the biggest increases in supply.
This last research period at the auction halls suggests very little different from the pattern seen since July.
Prices continue to be lower than the reported CAP figures, and the low sales conversion rates seen over the last four months seem set to continue. This position has persisted for longer than has been seen in many years.
Considering the amount of excess stock, and the time of year, it will be another couple of months before there is any sign of improvement.
Little else can be said, but it is worth noting that some European buyers have been paying significantly more than our domestic buyers.
It is largely a case of cut-and-paste from the last few months as far as the used market goes. Feedback has been fairly universal, with dealers saying that showroom traffic has been down, as are conversions to buyers. The Christmas adverts appearing on television are an indication, as if it was needed, of the low point of our sales cycle, but they are harder to take this year as they are amidst an economy-induced lull.
It will come as little surprise that there is a lack of willingness to buy stock, as dealers report the levels they already have are sufficient. This has had a knock-on effect of lowering prices yet again, which has been reflected in this month’s data.
Usually, as the industry prepares for the new season, there is a shift to increasing values. Signs currently indicate that this year the move will happen later than has been the case in the recent past, as dealers fall in line with the rest of the country, if not the world, in thinking that 2024 is going to be a slow year with little chance of growth.