Thursday, 22 May 2008

Recession? Boom, Bust, and Bikes?

Reading or watching news over the last few months it's been difficult to miss the predictions of doom, gloom, and financial ruin. (Although in one of our stops on Saturday's CoastBusters! ride, one of the newspapers was heralding the end of the recession!)

So how will that affect bike sales? It might be reasonable to expect 'tightening of belts' etc.

Or could it be that people who were about to move house but are put off by uncertainty over mortgage costs and falling house prices will, instead, spend their money on a bike?

The MCAI (Motorcycle Industry Association) figures suggest that might be the case.

“On the one hand, people are increasingly concerned about the economy. Rising prices, worries about the housing market and the credit crunch are making people feel uneasy about spending,” said Craig Carey-Clinch of the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCIA).

“But this could well have a positive impact on the PTW market. Record petrol prices, rising household bills, high taxation and widespread gloom could well make people think very carefully about their transport needs. Time wasted in congestion, expensive and uncomfortable public transport, high parking and congestion charges and the massive costs of car ownership make a moped, scooter or motorcycle increasingly attractive."

So what are the figures?

PTW registrations last month were only 3.2 per cent down on the same month last year at 18,624. Over the first three months of the year the market is just 2.2 per cent down with a total of 30,694 registrations. To add a little more perspective, although March 2008 is down on March 2007, it is still over 10 per cent up on March 2006 . . .

So the good news is that they're not as bad as they might have been?

. . . The industry on track to exceed 140,000 PTW registrations for the second year in succession."

But with the new test now closing in fast for the end of September, it would be - sadly - reasonable to expect worse sales figures from August onwards.

The message, worth repeating: If you or anyone you know are considering getting a full bike licence, do it soon.

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