Diversity and similarities of two rider groups
The needs and wants of the typical scooter rider differ quite a bit on age.
But mostly college students and work commuters, two of the larger scooter demographics, differ significantly in one area.
“The college kids can afford the scooter, but they can’t afford much else,” said Jim Canning, vice president of sales/operations for Partsforscooters.com. “That seems to be the consensus across the board (among its dealers) with the college crowd.
“We have about 1,500 dealers who purchase monthly or even daily. We have another 2,500 that purchase every couple months.”
Those dealers are noticing certain divisions between the two scooter demographics.
“There’s a certain segment in the aftermarket where a college kid may not purchase compared to an adult rider and that would be your high-performance parts,” he said. “The high-performance parts to soup up their scooters is rare for the college crowd just because they don’t have the money. Plus they’re not doing highway miles like the work commuter typically does.”
Sometimes, however, the younger demographic likes accessories to spice up their rides “like bling and lights,” said Joel Martin, owner of Martin Racing Performance (MRP), a wholesaler. “The professional tends to buy quality items like Armadillo Scooter Wear.”
Accessories for both groups
Regardless of the demographic, there are some accessories that are in high demand for both groups, says Canning.
“The scooter trunk is looked for by both groups,” he noted. “Scooter trunks are popular because of the storage.” Work commuters can put laptops in there and students can keep books in the storage areas. “Because of those items, locks are also very important to all riders,” he added.
Also important to both groups is protection, whether it’s a windshield or clothing.
“If you have a leather jacket and helmet on, your torso will stay dry,” said Ray Crawford, marketing director of Biker Rain Chaps, an apparel manufacturer. “A lot of people wear khakis to work and their legs get soaked. Commuters, regardless of college or work, want something to keep them clean.”
Biker Rain Chaps is working to expand further into the scooter market because of the demand for apparel protection, says Crawford.
It’s important dealerships carry accessories to compliment the scooters, comments Martin of MRP.
“The scooter stores need to build the idea of a destination, not just a shop where you buy cheap scooters,” he noted. “You can’t sell jackets and other items out of a catalog. Same applies to racing exhausts and clothing. The biggest mistake all these stores make is they don’t stock any accessories.”
— Karin Gelschus