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Economic Significance of the UK Motorcycle Industry

UK Motorcycle Industry Statistics and Economic Impacts
Photo: kingdom2k. Text Courtesy of ACEM.
Edited by webBikeWorld.com

UK Motorcycle Industry Statistics and Economic Impacts
65,530 Employees and a £6 Billion Impact


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May 15, 2010 - The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCIA; UK) recently published a study on the economic significance of the "powered two wheel" (PTW) sector in the UK, according to ACEM, the European motorcycle industry association.

The report, available as a .pdf file, says that 65,530 employees depend on the British PTW industry for a total turnover of £5,993,000 (approximately €7 billion).

The report has provided an assessment of the economic significance of the UK motorcycle industry, defined as comprising the five main sectors, including manufacturing; distribution and retail; repair, servicing and maintenance; sports and leisure; and other support services.

The analysis has been based largely on existing publications and data, supported by a number of consultations with industry representatives and a survey of MCIA members and motorcycle dealers.

The assessment has found the UK motorcycle industry to have a significant impact on the UK economy.

The UK Market for Motorcycling

Official data sources suggest that the number of licensed motorcycles has been increasing over time and there are currently more than 1.3 million licensed motorcycles in the UK (including Northern Ireland).

It is also reported that 3.6% of the motorcycles in the UK were thought to be unlicensed (not being used) in 2008, suggesting that there are likely to be closer to 1.4 million motorcycles in the UK.

New purchases of motorcycles have been growing in recent years, but have experienced declines of around 20% in 2009 as a result of the recession.

The MCIA estimates that there are approximately 1.5 million active motorcyclists in the UK, representing around 3% of the UK adult population. Ownership rates indicate there are approximately 22 motorcycles per 1,000 people, which places the UK amongst the lowest in Europe, and suggests there is significant potential for further growth.

The Economic Significance of the UK Motorcycle Industry

The UK motorcycle industry is of considerable size with net annual sales of almost £5.2 billion and has a significant impact on the UK economy, generating added value of more than £2 billion per year.

For comparison, this is more than gambling and betting activities and the production, distribution and promotion of all film, video, TV and music in the UK.

The industry directly employs 65,500 people in more than 6,350 businesses, which is more than each of the following: UK call centers; the market research sector; taxi driving; and libraries, museums and other cultural activities.

The Economic Significance of the UK Motorcycle Industry
in Millions of £

In  *(£m)

Total UK Motorcycle Industry Manufacturing Distribution & Retail

Repair, Servicing & Maintenance

Sport & Leisure

Other Support Services

Turnover

5,933

495

3,073

292

483

1,590

Purchases  

3,865

341

2,439

190

245

650

GVA

2,068

154

634

102

238

940

Wages

1,232

82

289

66

188

607

Profits

632

50

304

29

48

201

Exports

368

359

n/a

n/a

9

Minimal

Imports

853

828

n/a

n/a

25

Minimal

Taxes

1,004

60

391

41

97

359

Employment

65,530

2,870

20,380

4,000

10,210

28,070

Businesses

6,346

353

1,775

1,327

800

2,091

The study also highlights other key economic benefits, such as tax contributions of more than £1 billion per year and average wages of £18,800 across the whole industry.

Also, support services are valued at £21,600 and £28,600 in manufacturing sectors. There is a significant and increasing contribution to exports of £370 million per annum and supply chain impacts support an additional £750 million of Gross Value Added (GVA) and 16,000 Full Time Employment (FTE) jobs in the UK economy.

In total, the industry supports £2.8 billion of GVA and 81,500 jobs in the UK economy, directly within the industry and indirectly through purchases from other UK industries.

The UK motorcycle industry also generates associated tourism impacts relating to tourism expenditures such as accommodation, food and drink, etc. For example:

  • There are 1.5 million motorcyclists in the UK (3.1% of the adult population);

  • Motorcycle-related tourism spend in the UK (excluding expenditure relating to the motorcycle sports and leisure sub-sector) is £570 million;

  • Overseas motorcycling tourists spend £17 million on UK trips;

  • Motorcycle-related tourism expenditure supports more than 13,000 tourism jobs in the UK, of which approximately 400 are supported by the expenditures of overseas ‘motorcycling’ visitors.

The benefits go beyond the significant scale of the industry and the jobs it provides, and the case studies in this report provide specific examples of UK strengths and successes.

Much of the industry is internationally recognized for delivering high quality, high value activities, which are exported around the world, while many businesses have been growing during the recent period of global economic decline. For example, Triumph has achieved significant recent growth, while Norton production has recently returned to the UK.

There are also many examples and considerable evidence of UK manufacturers in the UK motorcycle industry investing heavily in R&D and innovating to drive the future of the industry, not just in the UK but globally.

Much of the current R&D activity links closely with government objectives (e.g. the ‘New Industry New Jobs’ agenda) to develop clean technologies and reduce carbon emissions (such as through electric and hydrogen powered motorcycles), improve the safety of motorcyclists and other road users, and to further develop advanced engineering capabilities and expertise in the UK.

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