Baby Boomers driving sales in Nebraska: research

Publish Date: 
Jul 10, 2012

LINCOLN, Neb.- Baby Boomers are driving powersports sales and registrations in Nebraska up to levels not seen in more than decade, state figures show.

The number of motorcycle riders in Nebraska more than doubled over the last 15 years. Nearly nine out of 10 Nebraska motorcyclists are men, and more than half of them are between 40 and 59, according to data from the state Office of Highway Safety.

Harley-Davidson has 40 percent market share in Nebraska, followed by Honda at 20 percent, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

The number of licensed riders dropped by nearly a third -- from 56,000 in 1986 to 40,000 a decade later -- but in the past 15 years the numbers have bounced back. Since the mid-1990s, the number of licensed riders in Nebraska rose by 122 percent, to 88,700 today.

It's higher than it's ever been, said Fred Zwonechek, administrator of the state Office of Highway Safety, and he expects it to go higher.

“There still a growing interest, particularly as they get older,” he said. “If they have enough disposable income, they go and by a large cruiser bike.”

The number of bikes on Nebraska roads jumped by 23 percent between 2007 and 2008 from 43,400 to 53,200, but has been at a plateau since. The state mirrored broader national trends during the recession, but higher gas prices, greater acceptance of the rider lifestyle and Boomers with money in their pockets are helping to turn things around. Bike sales are way up.

“People are sick of the bad news,” he said. “What we’re seeing now is a huge upswing.”

Posted by Holly Wagner