For some time now, Harley-Davidson has been trying to fight the stereotyped image of its customer base as being predominantly older, Caucasian males. Harley-Davidson‘s Stereotypical Harley campaign became a big part of the company’s advertising efforts in 2012, featuring real Harley-Davidson owners and showcasing the large diversity of its riders.
Fighting against preconceptions can be difficult but Harley-Davidson has some numbers to prove its motorcycles are popular with other demographics including young adults, women and minorities. Citing data from automotive industry research group Polk, Harley-Davidson says it was the market leader in the U.S. in 2012 for adults ages 18-34, women, African-Americans and Hispanics. And these are more than just a blip; they represent a continuing trend, going on for five consecutive years.
According to Polk, Harley-Davidson sold nearly twice as many street motorcycles to adults ages 18-34 than its nearest competitor in 2012. Harley-Davidson was also the most popular brand for American women, selling more street bikes to female customers than all other brands combined. The report also says nearly half of all street bikes sold to either African-Americans or Hispanics were Harleys.
“We don’t just build motorcycles. We fuel personal freedom,” says Mark-Hans Richer, Harley-Davidson chief marketing officer. “The desire for individual expression draws customers from all walks of life because it’s a universal, human value that transcends cultures, generations and history.”
The Polk data also found Harley-Davidson was also the U.S. market leader for Caucasian men 35 and older in 2012, but the rate of growth for that demographic is less than half of the rate for women, African-Americans, Hispanics or young adults.
“It’s more than an adage that almost no two Harley-Davidson motorcycles are alike,” says Richer. “The same is true for our customers. Members of our community come from all different cultures, backgrounds and generations, and their shared attitude about life is the tie that binds.”
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