PROJECT M
 

Riding high on the hog

With the baby boomer generation among its most important customers, could Harley-Davidson be hitting a demographic speed bump?

Greg Langley
© COLUMBIA / Kobal Collection

Riding high on the hog

With the baby boomer generation among its most important customers, could Harley-Davidson be hitting a demographic speed bump?

Greg Langley

Youthful Indulgence

Italy may have one of the most rapidly aging societies in Europe, but it remains one of Harley-Davidson’s youngest and strongest markets on the continent. Some 15% of Harley purchasers in Italy in 2010 were aged 30 or under. For the whole of Europe, the figure is 7%.

Why the difference? Harley-Davidson’s Rudi Herzig thinks it may be cultural. “Italians tend to start with Vespas, progress to bikes and then maybe purchase a car.” Weather could also be a factor, he notes. Bikes are very much a sunshine activity and become dangerous in rain and snow.

But the real answer may be more straightforward. Italian children tend to remain at home until they are almost 30, far longer than almost all other European cultures. This, commented one cynical female journalist, means Italian men have more money to spend on personal indulgences at a younger age.

Comments