October shows positive signs for the UK motorcycle market


Things have been tough for the motorcycle industry of late, as sales and registrations took a dip in the first half of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in the last month, things appear to have taken a turn for the better, as sales and registrations have increased again throughout October according to figures released recently by the MCIA (Motorcycle Industry Association).

Here, we’ll be looking at some of those figures in greater detail in an effort to understand exactly what it all means for the sector going forward into 2021.

Scooting into the future

When taken as a whole, motorcycle sales saw a pretty substantial 21.6% rise in October 2020 when compared to October 2019. However, the market segment that saw the most significant growth was scooters and mopeds which saw almost a 50% rise year-on-year.

There could be a multitude of factors at play here. Scooters are, by-and-large, perceived as being safer to drive than motorbikes and they are also significantly cheaper. Given the significant difficulties faced by almost all of us this year, it’s only natural that people would be less willing to spend a lot of money on their commuter vehicles.

Also, scooters are cheaper to insure than motorcycles and offer a lot more bang for your buck in terms of miles-per-gallon too. It’s also a vehicle that can be driven on just a provisional licence (up to 125cc), which undoubtedly goes some way towards explaining why there was a 60.1% increase in registrations of 50cc vehicles and a 42.3% increase in the registration of 51-125cc vehicles.

Electric dreams

While the increase in scooters has been significant, the increase in electric two-wheeled vehicles has been even more so. Overall, there has been a 71.8% increase in electric vehicles between October 2019 and October 2020, with the vast majority of those falling in the 1-4kw category.

These figures represent the electric scooters and bikes, rather than the mote powerful electric motorcycles. Though it’s worth noting there was also a massive 122.2% increase in electric motorcycles over 35kw. This is part of a larger trend towards a potentially fully electric future that’’s been brewing for years now and will only gain steam in the years ahead.

The immediate future

If you look at the European market, while motorcycle registrations had fallen by 17% thanks to the pandemic, there was a 6.4% increase in moped registration during the first nine months of 2020. There are also reasons to be optimistic about the near future. According to ACEM Secretary-General, Antonio Perlot: “The recent decision by the EU to extend the cut-off deadline for selling Euro 4 models until December 2021 will help the motorcycle industry to better cope with this crisis.

So, it’s not all doom and gloom. Indeed, we could be looking at a much more mainstream reputation for the moped sector in 2021 and beyond.