Demand for motorcycles in China is projected to increase 5.5 percent per annum through 2016 to 57.7 million units. Sales of electric motorcycles will be fueled by an expanding urban population, combined with rising income levels, and will account for three-fifths of total motorcycle demand by 2016. Gas motorcycles are also forecast to see healthy advances, particularly in rural areas, as demand is driven by their relatively low cost compared to alternative forms of transportation. Automobiles will pose the greatest competition to the motorcycle market in China as rising income levels have increased the number of consumers able to afford them. These and other trends, including market share and product segmentation, are presented in Motorcycles in China, a new study from the Beijing office of The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.
Sales of electric motorcycles are projected to rise 6.4 percent per annum through 2016 to 35.3 million units. Demand will slow from the torrid growth rate recorded over the 2001-2011 period as the stock of electric motorcycles increases, but sales will still be strong, boosted by ongoing urbanization and rising income levels. Sprawling urban development across China and insufficient public transportation networks continue to create the need for low-cost personal transportation, and electric motorcycles serve that market. Electric mopeds will be the most popular model because of their blend of attributes -- e.g., they are faster than electric bicycles but less expensive than scooters. There is little regulation governing the use of electric motorcycles. In fact, drivers are not even required to be licensed. If government efforts to regulate ownership are successful, it could have an adverse impact on electric motorcycle sales.
The gas motorcycle segment is projected to grow 4.2 percent per year, reaching 22.4 million units in 2016. The majority of demand will come from the rural and semi-rural market. Their sturdy design and ability to travel greater distances -- often over poor quality roads -- make gas motorcycles more practical than electric motorcycles in these areas. In addition, the low levels of public transportation available outside of urban areas make motorcycles an essential form of transportation for people unable to afford automobiles. Increasing income levels among rural residents will continue to drive sales. However, the numerous restrictions and bans on gas motorcycles in cities will prevent faster gains in urban areas, while in rural areas gas motorcycles face competition from low-speed vehicles, which are equally rugged but have a greater carrying capacity.
The Freedonia Group is a leading international business research company, founded in 1985, that publishes more than 100 industry research studies annually. This industry analysis provides an unbiased outlook and a reliable assessment of an industry and includes product segmentation and demand forecasts, industry trends, demand history, threats and opportunities, competitive strategies, market share determinations and company profiles.