As government restriction eases and holiday season approaches, businesses around the country have slowly picked up their pace in a valiant attempt to bounce back from months of inactivity during the strict quarantine period.
While shopping malls and physical stores have already been allowed to operate, the digital marketplace still plays a big role in propping up the local economy.
Motorcycle riders are busier than ever as delivery services are in high demand under the “new normal”, with the heroic riders and their two-wheeled machines helping minimize human-to-human contact in the buying and selling of goods.
In fact, motorcycles are even considered as a safer mode of transportation in a time of pandemic as stated in a position paper released by the University of the Philippines College of Public Health (UPCPH). With this, the government has recently allowed the operations of app-based motorcycle taxis to supplement the limited public transport system.
With the numerous motorcycles currently plying the streets, one would be forgiven for assuming that there is a surge in motorcycle sales. Yet, this is not the case according to the sales figures of the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association (MDPPA). The MDPPA is an organization composed of the leading brands in the local motorcycle industry, namely: Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. January to October 2020 numbers show a decline of 33.3% from last year, selling 941,260 units in the current year. This is quite a drop from 1,410,226 units in the same period of 2019.
While almost a million-unit sales is already a victory in itself, given the present state of the economy, it is by no means an indication of growth as some would speculate. It does, however, suggest that even as the motorcycle industry suffered under the current business climate, it is coping as well as can be expected. It is actually in better shape than it was a few months ago, with June 2020 sales figures indicating a negative 46% year-on-year sales growth. At the rate things are going, the MDPPA projects 2020 year-end sales to be 30% lower than of 2019.
The improving numbers also suggests that the demand for motorcycles remain strong as a good number of workers from industries severely affected by quarantine restrictions are now finding opportunities in motorcycle-driven businesses. This demand might even continue to grow as the Tourism Promotion Board of the Department of Tourism (DOT) launches the Motourismo campaign in an effort to kick start the domestic tourism industry. With land travel being more preferable than air travel during a pandemic, the goal of the campaign is to entice the public to go on motorcycle tours around the country.
While we are not yet seeing sales growth for the time being, there is certainly a marked rise in demand and usage for the motorcycle as it has yet again proven itself to be an essential tool in various circumstances. Often depicted as the vehicle of choice of heroes in movies, it now finds itself playing the same role in real life.