How are the UK’s new and used-motorcycle markets performing?

16 July 2021

Paul McDonald, Leisure Vehicle Editor at Glass’s (part of Autovista Group), discusses how the new and used-motorcycle markets developed in the UK in June, taking account of extensive feedback from dealers across the UK.

Following a significant bounce back in registrations during April and May, data published by the UK Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) shows that registrations in June increased by a more modest 11.4%.  However, considering that restrictions from the UK’s first lockdown eased in June last year, allowing dealers to reopen, smaller growth was not unexpected. According to McDonald, last month’s result is still impressive, as registrations in 2020 were actually 14.8% ahead of June 2019s pre-pandemic total, despite ongoing supply issues from manufacturers.

Engine band highest registrations – June 2021

Power BandModel
0-50ccYadea C-LIKE YD 1200 D-11A
51-125ccYamaha NMAX 125
126-650ccRoyal Enfield INTERCEPTOR INT 650
651-1000ccYamaha Tracer 9 GT
Over 1000ccBMW R1250 GS ADVENTURE
Source: MCIA

Demand returning

Dealers have now been open across the UK for three months following the easing of the latest lockdown restrictions, and the latest feedback suggests that enquiries and orders are beginning to slow a little. The main issue continues to be stock supply, with some popular models running out and not likely to be available until the end of the year when the 2022 models are released. However, the market is far from poor, with overall demand returning to more typical levels for the time of year.

What can the industry expect?

Although there are signs demand is easing a little, this is not unusual at this time of year. With key holiday periods approaching, this often translates into a market slowdown as people prioritise their spending elsewhere. Although foreign holidays remain low on the agenda, the staycation is very strong. Stock issues are likely to plague the industry for the rest of the year before hopefully being rectified for 2022. However, despite the challenges, including continued uncertainty with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the outlook remains positive.

The used market continues to be very buoyant and stronger than new, explained McDonald. As expected, ongoing availability issues for new machines has generated a shift towards the used market this summer. Indeed, some dealers have reported any shortfall in new-motorcycle sales have been compensated by increased used-motorcycle activity. However, as with the new market, there have been signs of a slowdown recently. Despite this, retail demand remains stronger than it has done for a significant period.

Retail demand is healthy across almost all motorcycle categories, but Japanese 125cc machines are particularly sought after, due to their rapid turnover. However,  ‘adventure’ and ‘touring’ machines are turning over at a slower rate, possibly a result of people being reluctant to tour abroad.

Although stock shortages continue to be the main bugbear for the industry, some dealers report successfully maintaining the correct level of stock to meet requirements by employing additional staff to focus specifically on purchasing. Quality stock remains at a premium, and with ongoing strong competition to buy within auction channels, hammer prices remain high.

Riding conditions

The first half of June was largely warm and dry for many, making for fine riding conditions. However, the second half of the month saw a deterioration with wetter and cooler weather conditions returning, particularly in more southern areas. The early weeks of July have been rather mixed, albeit not a washout.

Considering ongoing strong market activity, values have been held across all sectors for Glass’s August edition, except where trade feedback or evidence from the marketplace indicated models required specific adjustments. The 21 plates will also be added to the August data for road bikes.