Is the UK motorcycle market going to shrink in 2023?

For the first time in a long time, the motorcycle market here in the UK could feel the pinch as the cost of living crisis bites in 2023

Kawasaki Dealership

YOU can’t turn on the news right and not hear a mention of the cost of living crisis. It is affecting everything, from the groceries we buy to the fuel we put in our vehicles, and in 2023, it could have an impact on the UK motorcycle market also.

The post-covid years were actually pretty good for sales of motorbikes, with many commuters looking to the throng of well-priced, cost-effective scooters and commuters as a viable alternative to public transport. As a result, new motorcycle registrations were up, although the pandemic did bring its own unique challenges. Supply chains were hit hard and getting some bikes into the country was more of an issue. All in all though, people were eager to make the switch to riding a bike, and for the most part, things were looking bright.

That trend though might not be continuing through 2023, as the cost of living crisis really starts to bite. It’s something that is brought into focus when you look at the MCIA sales data for motorcycle sales from 2021 and 2022. At the beginning of the year, sales were strong, with a distinct spike when ‘bike season’ began in March. The market then lost ground in the summer of 2022 and stayed that way for the remainder of the year. There are some possible other factors at play, people saving some cash for Christmas, the uncertainty of another covid-19 lockdown, and fuel and energy prices. Even so, it seems like the decline might be here to stay.

New motorcycle sales data for 2021 vs 2022 - 

Further pressure on the industry looks set to come from the UK’s rate of inflation, which finance analysts are predicting will continue to rise in 2023. Inflation affects the cost of everything, from the food in the fridge to the cost of our mortgage payments and everything in between. Just today, the British Retail Consortium has predicted further rises in the first part of 2023, putting more pressure on the public as they battle rising energy bills and shopping. It’s hard to imagine a scene where with all that going on, households will be in a position to sit down and talk about dropping a chunk of cash on a brand-new bike.

It might not be so bad for some sectors of the industry though, and second-hand bike sales might be able to take advantage of the situation. Covid-19 had a profound effect on the used bike market, with dealers running out of good value used stock, and motorcycle auctions seeing dealers paying near retail prices for used bikes, just so they could get something in the shop window. If that does happen it will at least mean dealers are seeing some footfall, although they might not be handing out quite as many new motorcycles as they have in recent years.

Will the motorcycle market improve in 2023?

There might be some respite at the end of 2023 though, with the world figuring out how to export and move shipments more efficiently and inflation (hopefully) stabilising, the latter part of 2023 could be a slightly more attractive prospect. And there will of course be those people in a position to buy new bikes regardless of the financial outlook. The motorcycle industry will likely be hoping they find their way into a motorcycle dealership at some point this year.

2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R Review

2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R Review | Green lane machine!