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...from the desk of the publisher

2016 Sound RIDER! Demographic/Psychographic Study

In an effort to better communicate to our current and potential advertisers about who is reading Sound RIDER!, every few years we gather together the data we collect on our current subscriber base. Things typically change little from year to year, but with the advent of social media and certain market segments experiencing high growth, we did see some interesting numbers come up in the final result this time around.

And, although you may not be a current or potential advertiser, we did think it might be fun to share some of those results with the readers so they can look at where they fit in.

Where they live

Washington state accounts for about half our readers. That makes sense because the population is highest in the state where we started 17 years ago. The Oregon/Vancouver metro region had a nice growth spurt as a result of social media campaigns we’ve been targeting into the market, as well our presence at the recent International Motorcycle Show in Portland last fall.

How they find us

Internet search, while still the number one way people find us, dropped to 38% from the previous study as other internet formats collected 13% of our recent subscribers. It’s evident here that being present during those motorcycle shows is another key to capturing new riders hungry for the kind of localized and pragmatic editorial we provide.

By occupation

It’s no surprise that the tech category leads with what sort of vocations people immerse their lives in. But no occupation was a runaway format, so, in general, we’re a pretty diverse bunch. While the retired category is sky high at 23%, it’s no surprise when compared with out next category, How old are they? But now it gets interesting…

How old are they

Baby boomers make up the lion’s share of our readers, but we like the number on the 46-55 bracket as well. 49% of our readers are under 56. That’s a number a lot of companies in the motorcycle industry wish they could boast of. Back to those retired folks. 23% in the occupation category, but only 20% of the readers are over 66. So what’s going on? When we massage the data we find out it’s one of two things. In the higher income levels there are more early retirees. In the lower income brackets, there are a number of older folks working beyond 65.

Still woman friendly

When I started the magazine back in 1999, I made a promise to myself to keep it clean and fun, no matter what sex you are. We’ve always been ahead of the national average for women riders reading. So when the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) showed an increase of women riders from 8% in 2000 to 14% in 2014 we were interested to see where our latest data would land. 15%. Still ahead of the curve.

Miles ridden per year

This is a recent addition to our survey and one we’ve been looking forward to seeing the numbers on. The MIC states that the average rider rides 4,000 miles a year. We’ve always believed our readers ride more than that and the results prove they do.

What they ride

The ADV/Dual Sport market has been in a growth spurt since the early 2000s. On the graph you’ll see we show each as its own category and then combine them to show how massive the on-road/off-road rider market is. The growth of dual sport and ADV rallies in the market seem to be keeping pace with the market growth and there’s no doubt self-led rides like the WABDR and those in our dual sport ride guides have contributed to the growth.

The sport bike category has seen a 30% decline over the last five years. Keep in mind, this study is reflective of our readers and may not mirror the entire Northwest market in general. Two reasons may exist for this decline. A) some riders of sport bikes have added a family to their lives and hung up riding for the time being, and b) a number of sport bike riders have traded in their stealthy weapon for another mount like a sport touring bike, ADV or dual sport mount. Since our readers are riding more than the national average, it makes sense they’re looking for more adventure and comfort on the road.

In the Vintage category, one out of every five of our readers has a vintage bike. Upon a closer look, we see that this is what is floating the Honda brand through the next category.

You folks must love to wrench!

By the brands

Honda takes number once again, but as stated, a lot of that weight is a result of the number of Vintage owners who have one. Personally, some of you know I favor that brand and have three vintage models in my garage, so I may be mirrored in here.

But the biggest growth spurt is on the BMW brand. That brand has grown from 8% to 24% of our readership over the last decade. Why? No doubt, the brand has been developing in a positive way here in the Pacific Northwest doubling its number of local showrooms in the last 5 years. Some of the better marketed shops do a good job of getting out and participating in local events, and/or put on a number of events annually themselves.

Harley-Davidson is holding steady at 21% market share with our readers. That’s good considering we don’t interface with any of the local dealers other than run their calendar listings. We’d like to and have a plan for that in 2016. But, upon digging into the data a little more we discovered if a Harley owner had two or more bikes, the other brand likely to appear in their stable was? A BMW!

Other Numbers

  • The economy is certainly in a better position than five years ago and it shows by how many bikes our readers have in their garage with 39% owning more than one bike.

  • 25% plan to buy a new bike in the next 12 months.

  • 59% plan to buy new gear and accessories in the next 12 months.

Well, there’s a snapshot of what our readers look like. The entire demographic/psychographic study is available by emailing a request or calling our office.

Have a great new year!

Tom Mehren/January 2016


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