The Harley Davidson brand is associated heavily with the imagery of American motorbikes and motorbike clothing sale, so it’s rather ironic that the numbers keeping the company profitable is not from its US sales, which have been going down according to its third-quarter sales reports, with international sales keep profits up.
The company is struggling with older Harley customers aging out of motorcycling and not managing to appeal to younger riders. Harley’s target market of Baby Boomers can afford their higher prices, but their age means that they’ll age out of motorcycling in time, regardless of brand loyalty.
Despite Harley’s attempts with products like the Street 500, the company has failed to appeal to younger riders, who prefer performance and modern design styling over the classic look, chrome and sound of Harleys, which have remained mostly unchanged since the 1950s.
The Street Series was released by the company as a sleek and nimble series, designed with an urban aesthetic and built for city streets. It didn’t catch on much, though, except in parts of Europe where the tighter roads fit the smaller models. The Trump Administration’s 25% imported steel tariffs have also hit the company, with these factors combined accounting for a 13.3% year-on-year drop in sales.
That being said, international sales have gone up, in spite of the 25% on their bikes in Europe. These international sales boosted the company’s third-quarter profits to $113.9m, a 67% increase from last year’s $68.2m.
Additionally, the company has been working to implement its new digital strategy. One part of that is its partnership with online retail giant Amazon, which will allow Harley’s customers to see motorbike clothing sale from Amazon’s website.
According to Harley-Davidson Senior VP of Marketing and Brand, Heather Malenshek, the move is so that Harley can expand its online reach via the e-commerce giant. She says that Harley-Davidson is an on-demand, anywhere, anytime business, and their success hinges on their ability to meet their consumers on their own terms.
As the company’s US sales have lowered, so, too, has its stock. Shares in the company dropped by 11% from January of 2018.