How To Measure The Health Of The Motorcycle Industry

Here’s one way to gauge it. Just go to Google Trends and track keyword searches using Google’s cool Trends tool. It’s a free widget where you can enter one or a series of search terms and instantly get a sense of how often they are invoked over time. For example I entered the keywords “motorcycle parts” and I got the graph shown here illustrating that the number of searches went down about 50% from June 2004 to June of this year. Very illustrative of the loss of interest and of what happened to our industry during these last 4 years. With Google Trends, you can check the interest for any topic by using keywords of your choice, change the time frame, the region, sub-region, language, etc. Very cool widget.


18 Responses to “How To Measure The Health Of The Motorcycle Industry”

  1. 1 Donnie Jun 7th, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Very interesting. Thanks Cyril.

  2. 2 Patrick Helmer Jun 7th, 2008 at 9:24 am

    It’s a very cool info you give us. I played with a few keywords regarding my industry and learned a lot, especially how major news can influence the number of searches made on the web.

  3. 3 Brenda Fox Jun 7th, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Appreciate the info.
    Thanks Cyril!

  4. 4 ROGUE Jun 8th, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Thanks I will try it out.

  5. 5 John Berger Jun 8th, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Very cool tip, Cyril.

  6. 6 Asa Jun 8th, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Cyril, You are always coming up with cool stuff , thank you for passing it on . AB in Tennessee

  7. 7 madpuppy Jun 8th, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    I agree with all , very cool

  8. 8 Chris Bresner Jun 8th, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    A perfect illustration of how Internet develop new instant marketing tools. Even this blog kind of revolutionize the way we get our motorcycle news. Fast and up to date free info on companies, parts and people, and the possibility to express “live” our points of view. I love all the new possibilities offered by internet to those who know how to use it. Cyril, you do a superb job.

  9. 9 June Murante Jun 9th, 2008 at 7:43 am

    Very Cool great info thanks

  10. 10 Buzz Kanter Jun 9th, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Interesting info, as always. But cyril, is this a measure of interest in motorcycles or in searching for “motorcycle parts” in Google?

    There is no doubt the demand for motorycles and parts is dipping, but I would not base my tracking of this simply becuase fewer people searched for the term “motorcycle parts” on Google.

  11. 11 Charles Strand Jun 9th, 2008 at 12:13 pm


    Not sure that method is too accurate. 2 years ago, Google had 90% of all web searches, now it’s 65% as,, Yahoo (who bought Overture) and others have gained market share. My other business, Sun water Systems, is mostly web based and we track search engine trends very closely.

    I don’t think the industry is down that much, it’s just evolving and is more competitive. The days of selling bikes for $3000 to $10,000 over MSRP are likely gone and a lot of the dealers and manufacturers that don’t adjust with the market will also be gone. Our industry is no different than the boat, RV or auto industry… it’s payment driven. If dealers don’t find good consumer finance sources for consumers, they won’t survive.

    My business was up last year 30% over 2006, first quarter this year was up 25% over the same period last year.

    It’s a new world and the old school ways will likely have to change.

    Just my opinion,
    Charles Strand, Owner/Iron Horse Of Texas

  12. 12 Mike Kreitz. Jun 9th, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Buzz. If there are fewer searches on keywords like “motorcycle parts”, “motorcycle accessories” , it means that there is less interest. Less searches = less interest = less sales.
    Charles. Google market share of searches increased, not decreased. Where did you find your numbers?

  13. 13 Cyril Jun 9th, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Buzz, the only statement I made in my post is that if the mentioned Google internet searches are down by 50% , it’s reflective of a down trend in customization/sales of parts. Regarding the interest for motorcycles you can play on Google Trends with a lot of keywords. Everything down. I am certain that a lot of people who don’t search are still interested by motorcycles and/or custom parts, but most will not search them online until they can afford them.

  14. 14 Jeff & Robbie Jun 9th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Business sucks. Closing shop. Moving on.

  15. 15 Charles Strand Jun 9th, 2008 at 2:10 pm


    Here is a graph that shows Google’s market share, according to Nielson ratings, 53% vs. 86% 2 years ago.

    My guess is that even more importantly, not as many people are doing their own work on bikes, thus less searches for parts and more service work for Dealers.

    Again, I have no way of knowing about the industry as a whole, just know that my business has been up every year since I started 5 years ago, and don’t necessarily agree with the opinion that the industry is down… I think it is just changing and those that don’t change with it are going down.

    But, just my opinion.
    Charles Strand

  16. 16 Bart Langley -Cateye Customs Jun 9th, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    cool ..thanks for sharing….type in custom choppers…MONSTER peak in 04…..flat line since 05

  17. 17 Mike Kreitz Jun 9th, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Charles. Thanks for the link, but the data doesn’t show a market share loss for Google searches. Quite the opposite!

  18. 18 Donnie Jun 9th, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    Fabulous Google widget. Thanks for the info.
    Buzz, if people are less interested by custom parts it’s evident that they are less interested by motorcycles.

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