Motorcycle market round up - December 2019

Paul McDonald

20 Jan 2020, Editorial

January 2019 started on a positive note, however, as the year progressed significant growth proved difficult for the motorcycle industry. Largely a result of the political backdrop, poor consumer confidence hindered demand. As a result, registrations were erratic, varying month to month, without any real momentum.

Paul Mcdonald, Glass’s Leisure Vehicles Editor said, “It has without doubt been another tough year for the industry.  The UK failed to leave the EU twice, had a change of Prime Minister and a General Election in December, weakening consumer confidence. Unfortunately this is likely to continue into 2020 with the UK due to leave the EU at the end of January, followed by the potential for prolonged trade deal negotiations.”

According to the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), December registrations were 2.9% down compared to 2018.  However, the end of year total of 106,688 shows the market grew by 1.4%. In view of 2018 finishing a mere 0.5% of 2017, indicates the industry has been stagnant since 2016.

2019 Highlights

  • Five out of nine categories recorded growth
  • Mopeds had a strong year enjoying the largest growth
  • Adventure sports continue to strengthen overall but sales have been erratic
  • Sports tourers suffered the largest downturn but these are fairly low volume sellers

December Highlights

  • Five out of nine categories recorded growth
  • Sports tourers enjoyed the strongest growth
  • Higher volume selling naked machines experienced a modest increase
  • Adventure sports suffered another decline

Hot YTD in December

  • Honda PCX125 remains top of the table
  • Yamaha NMax was runner up
  • BMW R1250 GS continues to put in a strong performance
  • Strong value Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 remains a popular choice

What can the industry expect moving forward?

The next few months are likely be tough with sales in 2020 likely to be similar to 2019. However, if the UK successfully exits the EU at the end of January, which is looking more likely after two failed attempts, the market could experience some growth as spending confidence slowly recovers. As always at this time of year, there are some exciting new models in the pipeline due to land in showrooms, which will no doubt help stimulate demand. Motorcycle Live 2019 saw a marginal increase in attendance compared to 2018, which was positive and the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show hosted at Excel from the 14th to 16th February, will no doubt boost interest further.

Used Market

Dealer feedback suggests December 2019 used motorcycle demand declined versus 2018 with few dealers seeing this as a surprise as the General Election coupled to persistent wet weather subdued retail sales. Some improved footfall came over the Christmas period creating hope amongst some dealers that January sales might improve the pre-Christmas drought.


Dealers continue to state that stock availability is broadly in line with last year. However, sourcing issues persist, especially with 50-125cc scooters commanding premiums due to a lack of supply. With demand for new bikes waning, the parallel effect is a fall in the supply of customer part exchanges resulting in more dealers sourcing used stock via wholesale routes.

Top Performers

  • Triumph Street Triple
  • Suzuki V-Strom 650
  • Triumph Tiger 800
  • Honda CBR650

Sales Environment

With the arrival of 2020, dealers are looking forward to this year’s spring customer deliveries. However, with Brexit at the end of January and UK trade deals still requiring negotiation, market forecasts for the year vary considerably. As ever the market is weather dependent and whilst the country braces itself for the colder weather to come, most traders expect a small increase in sales activity in quarter one.

Following market analysis, and careful consideration, the majority of values have been held for the February edition of Glass’s data with exceptions where trade feedback or evidence from the market place suggests further necessary adjustments.

About the author

Paul McDonald

Paul McDonaldLeisure Editor

Paul has worked for Glass's since 2001 in various customer and vehicle valuation orientated roles, before becoming Leisure Editor just over a year ago. In his current role, he's responsible for keeping up to date with conditions and trends in the Motorcycle and Touring Caravan markets so we can provide accurate and reliable values to our subscribers. This means he's out and about a lot visiting dealers, manufacturers and auctions as well as analysing observation data.