2011 US Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study by J.D. Powers and Associates

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Arai and Icon share top honors

Arai retained the top spot on J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 U.S. Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study, sharing top honors with Icon.

The J.D. Power and Associates study measures the customers’ satisfaction with their helmets. Brands are scored on a 1,000-point scale generated from 11 different attributes: quietness; ventilation; de-fogging performance; face shield wind protection; face shield scratch resistance; ease of replacing face shield; shell scratch resistance; color and graphic; weight; ease of strap fastening; and fit and comfort.

Arai is back on top for the 13th consecutive time, tied with Icon with an overall score of 852, well above the industry average of 788 (a new record high in the study’s 13-year history). According to J.D. Power and Associates, Arai rated well across all 11 attributes, especially fit and comfort and face shield wind protection. Icon rated high in color and graphics. Shoei, which rated second in last year’s study, dropped to third this year despite increasing its rating and performing well in ease of shield replacement.

The study also found some other interesting trends. Customers are more likely to buy helmets over the Internet than ever before, with 23% of helmet owners purchasing their headgear online, compared to just 20% in 2010. The average helmet purchase price was $209 in 2010, a small increase from the industry average of $206, and the $203 average from 2007.

The Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study also re-affirmed data from J.D. Power and Associates’ latest Motorcycle Competitive Information Study: motorcycle riders are an aging demographic. The median age of a new helmet buyer is 48, a consistent increase from the 2000 study.

J.D. Power and Associates
2011 U.S. Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study
Brand 201120102009
Industry Average788784766

Press release after the jump.

Related Reading
2010 JD Power helmet satisfaction study
Customer Satisfaction Down in 2010

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 26 May 2011 — Motorcycle helmet owners are increasingly likely to purchase their helmet online, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction StudySM released today.

The study finds that nearly one-fourth (23%) of motorcycle helmet owners purchase their helmet on the Internet, compared with 20 percent in 2010. In 2002, less than 10 years ago, this proportion was just 4 percent.

“While the dealership is still the main source for a majority of helmets purchased, it’s clear that customers are continuing to shift to the online channel to purchase their motorcycle helmets,” said Brent Gruber, senior manager of the powersports practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “The percentage of helmets purchased online has increased steadily during the past 10 years. As a result, it’s crucial to ensure that dealers have an e-commerce website available for customer use as their preferences change.”

The study measures overall satisfaction of motorcyclists with their new helmet across 11 attributes: quietness; ventilation/air flow; de-fogging performance; face shield effectiveness of keeping wind out; face shield resistance to scratching; ease of replacing face shield; scratch resistance of shell; color/graphic design; weight; ease of fastening the strap; and fit and comfort.

For a 13th consecutive year, Arai ranks highest in customer satisfaction, and ties with Icon with a score of 852 on a 1,000-point scale. Arai performs well across all 11 attributes, particularly in fit and comfort and face shield effectiveness of keeping wind out. Icon performs particularly well in color/graphic design. Shoei follows in the rankings with a score of 831 and performs well in ease of replacing the face shield.

The study also finds the following key trends:

  • Overall satisfaction across the industry continues to improve to an average of 788 in 2011, reaching its highest level since the study’s inception in 1999.
  • The average helmet purchase price this year remains consistent with 2010—$209 in 2011, compared with $206 last year. In fact, the average price paid for a new helmet has remained relatively constant since 2007, when the average price was $203.
  • With a consistent increase in the median age of new helmet owners since 2000, this year’s study shows the highest median age to date—48 years.

The 2011 U.S. Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 4,820 purchasers of new 2009 and 2010 model-year motorcycles who provided information about their most recent helmet purchase experience and helmet use. The study was fielded between August and October 2010.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing forecasting, performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the Knowledge Economy. With leading brands including Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates, the Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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