Composition and construction of material. Paint. Styling. Type (full-face, open). Shield.
They’re all factors that combine with price to determine which helmet a customer will purchase. And thanks to an October study by ADP Lightspeed of more than 1,000 powersports dealerships, Powersports Business has learned that more than half of the helmets sold carry a MSRP between $71 and $200. Most interestingly, more than 10 percent of all helmets sold fall into the $41-$70 price range.
The study reflected the percent of helmets sold within MSRP price range from September 2010-September 2011. The survey uses ADP Lightspeed data from 1,068 dealers who sold 216,000 helmets (major suppliers only).
“It appears to me that price is the determining factor in three out of four helmet sales,” said ADP Lightspeed senior analyst Hal Ethington, a 30-year veteran of the industry. “High-end helmets, reflecting better safety with higher quality construction, sell only 1 out of 4. Fancy paints also enter into this upper group, blurring the line between the importance of appearance and safety in the buyer’s mind.”
While the number of helmets that were sold from stock and those were sold as a special order was not studied, they are important perspectives to consider.
“Sold from stock would indicate that dealers expect to sell, will buy the units, and keep them on the shelf,” Ethington said. “Sold as a special order indicates that dealers expect few sales, and will bring the unit in only when it has been prepaid — usually in full. The dealer chooses not to risk inventory dollars on units that (to him) have limited public appeal.”
The helmet study by ADP Lightspeed also reveals that only half of all dealers sell low-end helmets, with 80-90 percent of dealerships selling helmets in the range of $41 to $300.
About two-thirds of dealers continue to stock up to the $700 mark and sell to that segment, which only accounts for about 25 percent of customers.
“In this study, 189 dealers sold 788 helmets in the $1,000 range,” Ethington said. “That is just over four helmets per dealer, over the course of 12 months. While there is a definite market for helmets in this range, it is obvious that no dealer could carry stock on the shelf for such low demand.”
The ADP Lightspeed report also shows that helmet sales follow the normal pattern for motorcycle sales through the year in a sunbelt dealership.
However, the bump in December sales is greater than average store increases for this month, indicating that helmets are especially popular as a holiday gift, providing dealers with another holiday marketing avenue.