Millennials Are Killing Motorcycles Too

Harley-Davidson recently received an up-close look at the dangers of not paying close enough attention to the tastes of America’s millennial generation.

There’s nothing sadder than a new Harley-Davidson “hog” coming off the assembly line…

Only to be greeted by skeptical looks from millennials wondering: “Yo, where’s the USB port on this thing, dude?”

I’m joking, but America’s premier motorcycle maker recently received an up-close look at the dangers of not paying close enough attention to the trends and tastes of America’s millennial generation. Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG) executives had to tell analysts that they now expect to ship roughly 240,000 motorcycles this year, compared to last year’s mark of 262,000.

According to analysts at AllianceBernstein, millennials just aren’t into motorcycles all that much. Their prediction? No growth — nada — in bike sales despite this generational cohort now hitting their prime years for buying a bike, preferably one with the Harley-Davidson logo on it.

No “Easy Rider”

Basically, “rider growth,” as AllianceBernstein defines it in the chart below, “will dip into negative territory in 2017 and stay in negative territory for at least the next five years.”



Harley-Davidson recently received an up-close look at the dangers of not paying close enough attention to the tastes of America’s millennial generation.

It’s not as if a motorcycle maker like Harley-Davidson is ignoring millennials. But as one writer put it, the company is still putting “heritage before innovation” when it comes to its product lineup. That strategy worked for America’s baby boomers, but it doesn’t compute for millennials.

For Harley-Davidson, that’s a problem. The company’s stock hasn’t made a new all-time high since 2008. The last time its stock came anywhere close was 2014 — the shares are down more than 30% from that level right now.

It just points out something that Profits Unlimited Editor Paul Mampilly writes about time and time again — millennials are now the defining, target buyer for nearly every discretionary consumer product. Companies that cater to their likes succeed. Those that don’t, well … don’t succeed.

Kind regards,

Jeff L. Yastine
Editor, Total Wealth Insider

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  • jringo55

    This article is total nonsense. People are free to buy what ever they want. Motorcycles are a niche market. To say a class of people are to blame for a lack of sales is baloney. Next you will say the RV industry is in dire straights, the beer sales, the boat sales and and and —- because a class of people can’t be lured into buying like their parents were? Come on! The lack of spending is far more related to people in mass who just don’t have even close to the disposable money to spend their parents had and they are just not dumb enough to borrow and slave for such needless debts. Never in my history has one or two generations been pulled back into the dung like the last 2 have. Get over it. Consumerism is not the cat’s meow anymore. America’s hey day is over. I don’t have an issue buy used cars and I will by used clothing at Good Will. Whatever it takes to not be lured into the slavery debt trap.

  • Vince

    I agree wholeheartedly!

  • jringo55

    I have a great thought for an article. You should write about the low wage pit that over 50% of the working class has been stuck in for over 15 years now while the rich have been getting their tax breaks and wealthy corporation’s have been getting their corporate welfare. — Then maybe you will have a clue why consumerism in in mass is failing. The rich can supply all the jobs in the world but if the masses can’t spend, who will buy their goods and services?