Gifts cards, winches among top movers for 2011

It’s gift cards folks — gift cards, winches and UTV stuff. And if you don’t have them, your customers are finding them someplace else.

That’s what I found when I looked at the top 12 part numbers sold in metric and V-twin stores last year. They stood out like Gold Wings on a motocross track. And boy, was I surprised.

Let’s take the V-twin side first.

How about gift cards? In the 200 dealers I surveyed, I found more than $5 million in gift card sales. Look at the pie chart. These easy-sells accounted for more than one-third of the total top dollar sellers. Engine super tune (EFI) products were next, with $4.7 million divided among just three part numbers. It’s obvious that riders want this extra punch and are willing to pay for it.

I am surprised that the GPS section wasn’t stronger. It represented just under $1 million from 1,300 units, but somehow my gut tells me there are a lot more sales out there. Were they sold by eBay or Amazon? I think a good bunch of them slipped away from you V-twin folks.

Now, on the metric side.

The popularity of point-of-view videos like the one above have helped helmet camera sales.

Thank you, YouTube. The best performing single part number at metric stores was a helmet camera. Dealers sold almost 4,000 of them and brought in just under $1 million. One part number. A million bucks. That’s demand, and it’s demand we didn’t create. It’s our culture, our reality TV lives, our anybody-can-be-a-star culture, and this little camera is in the middle of it. Check it out. If you’re not selling these little babies, you are not in the game.

Now, do you wince when you say winch? Would you ever have imagined? Look at those numbers: I polled more than 1,000 metric dealers, and $2 million out of the $10 million generated by these top part numbers came from just four winches, 4,400 of them at an average price of $459. Sure, they are cool, and we all can see ourselves pulling up out of a thousand-foot canyon with one, but this is amazing. Great product, mid-range price, and boy, does it look cool on the front of that 4-wheeler. I get it. And the numbers are incredibly strong. If you’re not selling winches, you had better wince. Go get some. This market is bigger than you thought.

The other surprise winner here is the UTV market. Twelve of the 25 part numbers in this group are for UTVs. Let’s say it again: Half of the part numbers in the top-sellers group go on UTVs. They account for more than $4 million in sales, from just 12 part numbers. Check your showroom floor. Check your parts counter and walls. If UTV doesn’t have its fair share of floor space, you are missing out. UTV is the future, and I see it eating away at ATV, month by month.


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Gift cards in metric earn less than one-fifth of what the V-twin guys get, but they are still in the top tier. Make sure you have an easy way to both sell and redeem these little puppies because the public wants them. You make it hard, and you’ll soon notice your customers sitting at The Cheesecake Factory, enjoying a nice meal and paying for it with a gift card that could have been yours. Push gift cards.

Now, I have removed all consumables from these two lists, and I have also eliminated warranty parts as best I can. What I wanted here were the hot movers — the good retail stuff that may have sneaked up on you while you weren’t looking. If you are not booking lost sales, if you are not going to Indy, if you are not reading the magazines — you are missing out. If you don’t recognize each and every part description in this report, you are not in the game.

I hope you find this report as interesting as I did. Keeping up is a big part of this game and a big part of the fun.

Hal Ethington has been associated with the powersports industry for more than 40 years. Ethington is a senior analyst at ADP Lightspeed. For more information on the top sellers of 2011, contact him at

One comment

  1. Is there additional value with Loyalty/Gift Cards?

    Would there be considerably more value if the cards could be tied to a Pre-Approved Revolving credit line?

    Has anyone tried it?

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