Retailers are hungry for statistics about the recessionary consumer. Last year, Cycle World produced two such shopping surveys, one on tires, the other helmets. The magazine compared the results with 2005 findings. Below are results transcribed into purely textual form. Click here for full reports with pie charts and bar graphs. You’ll see studies dating back to 2005, including a 2008 study on dealerships.
The most interesting findings may be that 42 percent of readers bought their current helmet at a dealership, and 30 percent bought online (see the full results below). But of the readers who wanted to buy a helmet within the year, only 35 percent planned to do so at a dealership; 44 percent planned to go online.
Similar stats for tires: 44 percent bought at a dealership, 20 percent at an accessories store, and 31 percent online. Since 2005, online purchases have grown by 10 points; dealer purchases have dropped by 5 points.
But who are Cycle World’s readers?
According to the magazine, their average age is 48, their average household income $121,500. Ninety-seven percent are male, 70 percent are married, 48 percent graduated college, and 31 percent have kids under the age of 18 living at home. Forty-eight percent own a sportbike or naked bike, 32 percent a cruiser, 30 percent a touring bike, and 25 percent a dirtbike or dual-sport. Only 2 percent don’t own a bike.
Now for the helmet study results. On average, readers own four helmets, up from three in 2005. Within the past 12 months, 39 percent of households had bought a helmet. A rundown of what people own and plan to buy (with the change since 2005):
- Full-face street: 87 percent own (1 point down); 59 percent plan to buy (4 points down)
- Open-face street: 44 percent (8 up); 14 percent (no change)
- Street with flip-up chin bar: 26 percent (8 up); 34 percent (10 up)
- Half-helmet or beanie: 29 percent (5 up); 10 percent (2 up)
- Full-face off-road: 23 percent (2 up); 7 percent (1 down)
- Open-face off-road: 4 percent (no change); 2 percent (no change)
Considering only the primary helmet of each reader, 50 percent of the helmets are one to three years old; 24 percent are four to five years old; 18 percent are less than a year old; and 8 percent are more than six years old.
The cost of the most recently purchased helmet: 30 percent: $100-199; 24 percent: $200-299; 18 percent: $300-449; 13 percent: less than $100; 10 percent: $450-549; 5 percent: $550-plus.
The top-three reasons for the most recent helmet purchase: 1) replace a worn/damaged helmet, 2) increased comfort/better fit, 3) saw a helmet I liked, so I bought it.
Place of purchase for most recent helmet: 42 percent: motorcycle dealer; 30 percent: online; 9 percent: mail order/phone; 7 percent: show/race/rally; 12 percent: other. Since 2005, buying at a dealer dropped by 11 points, while buying online increased 7 points.
Forty-eight percent of readers planned to buy a helmet in the next 12 months. Thirty-five percent planned to buy at a dealership, 44 percent online, 10 percent by mail order/by phone, 5 percent at a show/race/rally, and 6 percent in some other way. Dealers and shows/race/rally dropped 6 and 2 points, respectively, since 2005. Online and mail order/by phone saw increases of 5 and 3 points.
Sixty-seven percent of Cycle World readers who bought a helmet at a dealership knew what they wanted before shopping and bought it. Online, 97 percent claim they knew what they wanted before shopping and bought it.
Ninety-three percent of readers would recommend their brand of helmet.
Readers are taking more time to decide on a helmet purchase, with a 3-point increase since 2005 in readers taking about a month or more to make a decision. Twenty-seven percent take about a month; 21 percent several days; 20 percent one to two weeks; 16 percent several months; 14 percent one day; and 2 percent a year or more.
Brands people own and plan to buy (with the change since 2005):
- HJC: 52 percent own (5 points up); 43 percent plan to buy (8 points up)
- Shoei: 44 percent (1 down); 51 percent (7 down)
- Arai: 32 percent (3 up); 46 percent (8 down)
- Bell: 20 percent (2 up); 26 percent (4 up)
- AGV: 14 percent (1 up); 15 percent (6 down)
- KBC: 12 percent (2 up); 14 percent (3 down)
- Nolan: 12 percent (no change); 21 percent (no change)
- Scorpion: 8 percent (6 up); 16 percent (6 up)
- Fulmer: 7 percent (1 up); 9 percent (3 up)
- Icon: 6 percent (3 up); 11 percent (4 down)
- Vega: 5 percent (1 up); 4 percent (1 down)
- Z1R: 5 percent (3 up); 12 percent (4 down)
- Schuberth: 4 percent (no change); 8 percent (3 down)
- AFX: 3 percent (no change); 6 percent (no change)
- Suomy: 3 percent (no change); 10 percent (8 down)
- THH: 3 percent (1 up); 3 percent (1 up)
- Shark: 2 percent (no change); 10 percent (no change)
- Simpson: 2 percent (2 down); 8 percent (2 up)
- Vemar: 2 percent (1 up); 6 percent (3 up)
- OGK: 1 percent (no change); 2 percent (1 up)
- Troy Lee Design: 1 percent (no change); 3 percent (no change)
- Other: 23 percent (9 down); 16 percent (5 down)
Factors that impacted the helmet purchasing decision: 69 percent: price; 67 percent: magazine test/review; 59 percent: online info; 56 percent: styling/appearance; 43 percent: friend recommendation; 38 percent: availability; 27 percent: matches bike/gear; 20 percent: magazine advertising; 18 percent: dealer recommendation; 6 percent: racer/celebrity endorsement; 15 percent: other.
Helmet accessories people own and plan to buy (with the change since 2005):
- Sunglasses: 58 percent own (1 point up); 20 percent plan to buy (1 point up)
- Helmet storage: 24 percent (2 up); 8 percent (no change)
- Two-way communication: 24 percent (7 up); 19 percent (no change)
- Music-listening device: 26 percent (6 up); 13 percent (2 up)
Now for the tire study. Seventy-six percent (237,120) of Cycle World households bought one or more tires over the past 24 months. On average, these households bought 3.3 tires each. The average cost per tire was $125.50, an increase of 3 percent since 2005.
Not surprisingly, the types of tires purchased tracked closely with the types of bikes owned, with sportbike tires leading. The purchase of off-road and dual-purpose tires increased 10 points since 2005 — 24 percent of households bought them.
Preferred tire brands (with the change since 2005): Dunlop: 33 percent (3 down); Metzeler: 24 percent (1 up); Michelin: 19 percent (4 up); Bridgestone: 16 percent (3 up); Pirelli: 10 percent (3 up); Avon: 10 percent (2 down); OE replacement: 8 percent (no change); Continental: 5 percent (2 up); Cheng Shin: 2 percent (no change); Maxxis: 2 percent (2 up); Kenda: 2 percent (no change); IRC: 1 percent (no change). Total exceeds 100 percent due to multiple bike ownership.
Eight-nine percent (277,680) of readers claim a preferred brand of tires, a 10-point increase since 2005.
Length of time using preferred tire brand: 37 percent: last two sets; 25 percent: last four sets or more; 24 percent: current set; 14 percent: last three sets.
Ninety-four percent of readers who claim to have a preferred brand of tires would consider changing brands for the following reasons: 51 percent: improved durability/wear; 33 percent: improved performance; 10 percent: lower price; 6 percent would not consider changing.
Place of motorcycle tire purchase: 44 percent: dealer; 31 percent: Internet; 20 percent: motorcycle parts/accessory store; 3 percent: mail order/by phone; 1 percent: other. Internet purchases have grown by 10 points since 2005. This increase seems to have come at the expense of dealers (down 5 points) and mail order/by phone (down 4 points).
Sources of information utilized during motorcycle tire selection: 73 percent: magazines; 60 percent: product reviews; 42 percent: Internet forums; 39 percent: dealer recommendation; 30 percent: motorcycle manufacturer recommendation; 28 percent: friend; 28 percent: Internet editorial; 23 percent: tire manufacturer website; 5 percent: none of the above.
Sixty-four percent of readers have replaced their brake pads, an increase of 5 points since 2005; 47 percent have replaced their brake lines; 14 percent have replaced their wheels.
Important features when selecting brake pads: 82 percent: improve stopping power; 66 percent: improve brake feel; 49 percent: longer pad life; 45 percent: higher resistance to fading; 5 percent: other.
Important features when selecting brake lines: 91 percent: improve brake performance; 31 percent improve looks; 18 percent: replace damaged part; 6 percent: other.
Replacing a damaged wheel is the leading reason readers cite for changing wheels. Among American and metric cruiser owners, appearance ranks as the leading reason for replacement. Lighter weight and increased strength are important factors for sport and off-road motorcycle owners.