New program collects data on younger riders
2016 was not the best year for the powersports industry. Motorcycle sales were down 2.7 percent for the year, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council, and Same Store Sales for CDK Lightspeed dealers decreased in six different months year-over-year. But as the year turns, there’s hope for a fresh start, and the Progressive International Motorcycle Show series is designed to spur consumer excitement before the new motorcycle season begins.
Powersports Business caught up with the IMS tour during its Minneapolis stop, the second-to-last event on the seven-show schedule. Tracy Harris, SVP of Powersports for show producer UBM, said each stop performed well.
“The quality of the audience has been really good; the enthusiasm of the audience has been really good. We’ve gotten a lot of really positive reports back from the customers. So I think just in general, the shows have gone really well,” she said.
On occasion, weather worked against the show, and a home field Cowboys playoff game affected the Dallas stop, but overall attendance was positive, Harris reported.
Among the traditional baby boomer audience was a solid crowd of younger riders as well. To capture information on its visitors, especially those on the younger end of the spectrum, IMS introduced the Win Play Vote program. Attendees registered via the IMS app or on site at a show. With their registration, they received an event pass and were automatically entered to win prizes. They could then visit Progressive and participating OEMs Ducati, Honda and Suzuki, as well as other show features, to earn patches. The more patches they earned, the more contest entries they received. Three times per day at each show, IMS gave away a full set of gear — helmet, boots, jacket, pants and gloves — donated by Cycle Gear. A BMW G 310 R, Kawasaki KX 250F and Victory Octane were given away to lucky winners at the conclusion of the tour.
Also in the app, attendees could vote for their favorite motorcycle in the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show, and they could share photos via Facebook and Twitter.
“We’re capturing a lot of demographic data on the front end about what you ride, when you ride, how often you ride, what do you own. We’re capturing all that data. And then on the backend, when you leave, through the exit survey process, we’re capturing a lot of data about how you felt about the show.” Harris explained.
Younger attendees tended to participate in Win Play Vote, allowing IMS to gather data on younger riders.
In addition to Win Play Vote, other features were improved for the 2016-17 season. Fitz Army, a freestyle motocross team that’s part of Metal Mulisha and became famous as a semifinalist in Season 10 of “America’s Got Talent,” took over the stunt show entertainment for the tour.
“That’s been really well received because it’s very different,” Harris said. “It takes your breath away to see someone flying through the air and doing a flip indoors.”
The vintage area was also given significant show floor space and an enhanced display.
“We really upgraded the vintage experience this year, primarily because our post-show surveys really show a high degree of satisfaction in the vintage bikes, so we decided to really put some money into the vintage display area. And the vintage clubs have been, for the most part, thrilled,” Harris said, adding that IMS works with local vintage clubs at each stop to make transporting the bikes easier.
More small, independent retailers also purchased booths this season, compared to years past, Harris said.
“We saw some really substantial growth in that area, so that’s obviously good for the shows because people come to buy stuff,” Harris said.
The number of dealer booths remained on par with 2015-16, with Chicago and Cleveland boasting the most dealer booths. Of course, at all shows dealership staff worked the OEM booths as well.
The hope is that a positive IMS season indicates a better sales season to come.
“You can feel there’s a buzz. There’s a good energy level at all the shows. Obviously we need to see that translate into new unit sales or even used sales,” Harris said. “That’s what these shows are all about, which is getting people excited about riding and purchasing product and purchasing new models.”