We have seen many reports recently about millennials not being interested in motorcycling. Around the same time, we saw Harley-Davidson report a 5.7% decline in sales numbers in the first quarter of 2017. The Motor Company cited the aging population of baby-boomers, H-D’s core customer, and the struggle to replace them.
While some may have dismissed claims about Harley-Davidson’s sales numbers not being representative of the entire industry, the latest financial report from Yamaha may change their minds. Yamaha is reporting a similar financial outlook; North American sales are down while international sales are up, leading to a net positive worldwide for the company. This could be attributed to the more essential use of motorcycles in other markets such as Asia while the U.S. has always treated motorcycling more recreationally.
A recent news release about the first half of the fiscal year from Yamaha stated:
Net sales of motorcycle products overall were 509.2 billion yen (an increase of 31.7 billion yen or 6.6% compared with the same period the previous fiscal year), and operating income was 33.8 billion yen (an increase of 15.7 billion yen or 86.8%).
Unit sales in emerging markets such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and Taiwan increased, and despite decreasing in Indonesia due to the market slump there, the unit sales figure increased overall. Net sales increased, and operating income increased significantly thanks to the effects of product mix improvements and cost reductions.
Regarding unit sales in developed markets, sales in Europe were on a similar level to the previous year – despite the launch of new products such as the MAX series – due to the impact of environmental regulations. In North America, sales decreased due to weakening demand, leading to an overall decrease in sales. Net sales were on a similar level to the previous year thanks to product mix improvements, and operating income moved into the black.