Chennai: For the first time in more than 5 years, motorcycle sales outpaced scooter sales on the back of rising rural demand.
According to SIAM data, scooters clocked 10.35% growth in April-June 2018 but motorcycles zoomed ahead at nearly 20% growth, almost double the scooter tally. Auto analysts say this resurgence in motorcycle sales is because of revival of rural demand which has kicked back in the last 7-8 months after several years of poor growth.
Scooters sales started falling behind motorcycles in February 2018 , when bike sales rose 26.5% while scooters clocked a 24% growth.
By March 2018, scooters had slipped further to just 6.5% growth, while motorcycles roared ahead with more than 25%. In April the gap narrowed as scooters clocked more than 12% while motorcycles did more than 19%. Scooter sales fell in May by -1.5% while motorcycles retained their momentum with 15% growth. While, scooter sales recovered in June (up 21%), bikes are still ahead at more than 24% growth.
“Strong demand from rural customer base brought about a recovery in demand for entry segment motorcycles after a hiatus of five years in FY2018 which also continued in Q1FY2019,” said Anupama Arora, VP – Corporate Sector Ratings, ICRA.
Although the rural revival started in FY2018 and helped boost bike sales, scooters still out performed motorcycles significantly. Even in January 2018, scooter sales growth (45%) was almost double that of motorcycles (nearly 29%) and in December 2017 scooters grew 52% to more than 40% sales growth clocked by bikes. Indeed for the entire year, while motorcycles clocked just under 14% growth, scooters clocked nearly 20% growth in volumes during FY2018.
According to ICRA, scooter segment continued “to outpace the industry growth and gain share in the overall domestic two-wheeler mix. The growth has been derived majorly from urban areas while rural and semi-urban areas have also witnessed increased acceptance of scooters with improved road quality, unisex appeal as well as growing women participation in work force.”
Much of the motorcycle revival is thanks to the revival of the entry level bike which is popular in rural markets. After sluggish performance all through from FY2013 to FY2017, bike sales clocked double-digit growth in FY2018 “driven notably by the 75-110cc sub-segment supported by general improvement in rural demand sentiment on the back of near normal monsoon,” said ICRA.