Market share of motorcycle

motoroid the number of motorcycle sold motorcycle market share pie chart

Japanese motorcyle market is shrinking!

  • Japanese motorcyle market is shrinking despite the economic recovery.
  • Honda Motor Company has the top share of this market not only in the world but also in Japan.
  • Japanese motorcycle manufacturers struggle to sell young people motorcycles.

The market size of motorcycle in the world is about five trillion yen(about 50 billion dollars), that only in Japan is about 130 billion yen. This market is growing with the growth of emerging nations' economies, but Japanese motorcyle market is shrinking. Japanese motorcycle manufacturers earn most of their profit from overseas now.

The number of motorcycles sold in Japan was about 338 thousand according to the report of JAMA(Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association) in 2016. That was 10.5% decrease from the previous year, and was about 80% decrease from the 1980s. The number of motorcycles sold in Japan hovered aroundf 400 thousand from 2009 to 2014, but that began to decrease again in recent years.

The number of motorcycles sold in Japan

The reason for a decrease is that many young Japanese are not interested in a motorcycle and do not buy it. This occurs since the lifestyle changed by internet and the gravitation of the population to the cities. The average age of motorcycle riders has been rising in recent years according to the report of JAMA. People older than 50 years account for 60% of motorcycle riders in Japan.

Japanese motorcycle industry developed rapidly from high economic growth(1954-1973). Japanese motorcycle manufacturers pulled motocycle production volume in the world. Motocycle production volume in the world was ten million in 1960s. It increased three times in 2000s, and is 50 million now.

Nowadays, mototcylce production base moved from Japan to India and China because not only labor costs are low but also mototcylce is very popular in these companies. However, Japanese motorcycle manufacturers account for 45% of the motorcycle market in the world.

motorcycle market share in the world and only Japan

Domestic motorcycle market is an oligopoly and a mature market with four companies accounting for 90% of this market share. Honda Motor Company has the top share, it account for 41% of this market. It also has the top share of the world motorcycle market. It produces about 18 million motorcycles per year.

Yamaha Corporation has the second share, it account for 30% of this market. It also has the second share of the world motorcycle market. Its ratio of overseas sales is over 90% of its total production. Honda and Yamaha are in rivalry, but they collaborate with each other to improve work efficiency in domestic market. Honda provide mototcycles whose engine is 50cc for Yamaha as OEM. Suzuki Motor Corporation has the third share, Kawasaki Heavy Industries has the fourth share of the domestic market.

Japanese motorcycle manufacturers struggle to sell young people motorcycles and stimulate new demand related to a motorcycle. They will break through that with downsize and IT. Yamaha published two conceptual models in Tokyo motor show 2017, TRITOWN and MOTOROiD.


The TORITOWN is a small standing ride type motorcycle. It is eco-frindly because it is an electric vehicle. A rider drive it by weight shift like Segway. It is made for alternative mean of trasportation at large space and facility, such as factory, airport or hospital.

The MOTOROiD is an automatic driving motorcycle. It is different from autonomous car(driverless car) because Yamaha thinks that most attractive feature of motorcycle is driving it by oneself. The MOTOROiD can autonomously wake up and move toward the owner by its AI when the owner calls it.


In the automobile indutry, automobile manufacturers are developing a small car for 2-crew and autonomous car(driverless car). Motorcycle manufacturers also developing new type of motorcycles to tap a new market. Motorcycle manufacturers may boost its business performance if their challenge will succeed.

Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki are listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Foreign investors can invest in them on NYSE by ADR(American Depositary Receipt). In addition, they can do them through many ETFs, MAXIS Nikkei 225 ETF(NKY), iShares MSCI Japan ETF(EWJ), Wisdomtree Japan Hedged ETF(DXJ) and more.