GE survey shows strong industry sales growth in 2014

News release

The motorsports industry is expecting to close out the year with strong sales, according to a survey conducted by GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF).

Fifty-three percent of respondents anticipate 2014 full-year sales growth of at least 10 percent, with an additional 24 percent of those respondents expecting sales to rise at least 5 percent. No respondents expect a decline in sales. This is close to last year’s survey results, with 60 percent of respondents anticipating at least 10% sales growth.

“It’s great to see the continued optimism reflected in these results,” said Sameer Gaur, president of CDF’s motorsports group. “We are seeing an increased level of orders, healthy turnover and aging metrics in our motorsports financing portfolio and a high level of innovation in the industry. These factors are all contributing to this positive sentiment.”

GE Capital’s survey was conducted Oct. 16-17, 2014 at the second annual American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo), held in Orlando, FL. AIMExpo is a trade, media and consumer powersports event which also features a trade education program for dealers, offering tracks on social media, marketing and more.

When asked about what forms of market data are being used to manage or influence their business, 31 percent said they rely on social listening, which includes following Yelp, Twitter and Facebook. Twenty-five percent rely on sales trends, 14 percent on industry outlook and 11 percent on new product reviews.

“Social media is a great source of free market intelligence, and research shows that a vast majority of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations,” said Mike Lee, vice president of commercial media at GE Capital, who ran two educational sessions on social listening during AIMExpo. “Dealers can’t ignore what is being said about them or the products they sell, and are starting to explore how social listening can help them manage their brand, cultivate customer relationships and find sales opportunities.”

Survey respondents for the second year in a row think new product introductions is one the industry’s biggest trends. Respondents also felt pre-owned inventory is a big trend in 2014. Last year, parts, garments and accessory options were considered a big trend in the industry.

“Dealers are seeing the benefits to selling pre-owned products in their bottom line,” noted Gaur. “And innovation across price points and segments continues to attract new riders and boost the industry overall.”

Looking ahead to next year, respondents felt the biggest challenges in 2015 would be consumer spending (31%), attracting new riders (22%) and retail finance availability (22%), the same top challenges predicted last year. Survey respondents also again predicted that motorcycles (42%) would be the most popular product next year, followed by quads, or all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles (22%), and scooters (14%).

Of the 82 respondents, 41 percent were dealers or retailers; the remainder was manufacturers, distributors and others.


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