Thursday, December 11, 2008
Motorcycle Buyers: The ones that got away
According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Motorcycle Escaped Shopper Study, which analyzes the reasons shoppers consider a particular motorcycle brand but ultimately purchase a different brand, finds that 51% of new motorcycle shoppers cite dealer-related issues as a reason for rejecting a motorcycle brand.
According to this inaugural study, which is based on responses from 3,022 new motorcycle buyers, one of the primary dealer-related issues for rejecting a brand is the inability to test ride a bike, which was mentioned by one-fourth of shoppers as a reason for rejection.
Motorcyclists want to try before they buy
Seven% of shoppers indicate that the inability to test ride was the most influential reason for not purchasing a particular motorcycle brand. In addition, 18% of shoppers rejected a motorcycle because it was not available at the dealership, while the perception of being able to receive better service at another dealership is mentioned by 15% of shoppers as a reason for rejection.
‘To avoid losing customers due to dealer-related issues, it’s important for dealers to better manage customer expectations,’ says Tim Fox, research manager of the powersports practice at J.D. Power and Associates. ‘For example, making customers aware before they arrive at the dealership why they can or cannot test ride a particular motorcycle may help brands convert more shopper visits into sales,’ he adds.
Prices and financing are important concerns
The study also finds that price and financing are cited most often as the reason for rejecting a motorcycle brand, with 57% of shoppers mentioning price-related issues as a reason for rejection. Overall, price is cited by 41% of shoppers as a reason for rejection, and 28% name price as the most influential reason for rejection.
Similarly, 16% of shoppers mention the lack of low-interest financing, rebates or other incentives as a rejection reason, while 23% of shoppers mention high maintenance costs.
‘It is important for dealers to understand that for many of these lost sales, there was a legitimate chance of closing the sale during the shopping process,’ says Fox. ‘Eighty-four% of shoppers indicate they ‘seriously’ considered the brand they rejected, while 41% indicate they considered the brand ‘very seriously.’ While price is often a major reason for rejection, 51% of shoppers end up spending the same or more on the brand they purchased compared with the brand they considered but rejected.’
More motorcyclists are using the Internet
A vast majority of customers – 81% – report having used the Internet to research motorcycles when shopping, 73% say they read magazine reviews, and 28% say they attended a trade show or motorcycle event, according to the study. And 78% of motorcycle buyers indicated they contacted or visited a dealership for information before purchasing.
‘More than 75% of customers report interacting with a dealership to find more information on a particular motorcycle, so manufacturers have a great opportunity to win or lose customers at this point in the shopping process,’ says Fox.
Motorcyclists are riding less because of higher petrol prices
The study, which also examines the impact of petrol prices on motorcycle riding habits, finds that 29% of motorcycle riders report that they changed their driving habits during late September and early October 2008, when petrol were the highest.
Among those riders who changed their habits, 75% report using their motorcycle more often for commuting to work or school, and 41% say they use their motorcycle more often when driving around town. Additionally, 31% report doing less cruising, and 30% say they did less extended travelling.