Riding Harley-Davidson, Inc. (HOG)’s Customer Loyalty All the Way to the Bank

Page 1 of 2

Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG)Here in Northern California, groups of Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG) riders are as common as wildflowers on a country hillside.  No longer are these groups flying “colors” like Hells Angels members or full of freshly released prison immates – Harley-Davidson’s are now the favored “ride” of the middle to upper class Silicon Valley professional.  On any sunny day, groups of balding, middle-aged professionals can be seen astride Harley’s enjoying the scenery and open air. Last month, even the Pope blessed a similar group of Harley riders, including two company representatives.

The Demographic Challenge, and the Answer

Why then has the company’s motorcycle sales fallen more than 13%, triggering a greater than 10% decline in stock price?  Many believe that Harley has a serious demographics problem, and in fact, most of its recent sales are to men between the age of 40 and 50, with those in their 60s thought to be more worried about their joints and possible broken bones than riding.  According to another Foolish Blogger,

The sweet spot is the mid-40s to early 50s.  And with the Baby Boomers—the largest and wealthiest generation in history—now largely aged out of this key demographic bracket, Harley has a serious problem.  Generation X—my generation—is not nearly large enough to pick up the slack, and Generation Y (aka “the Millennials” or “Echo Boomers”) are decades away from being in the demographic sweet spot for Harley.  The number of American men aged 40-49 is set to decline through the early 2020s and won’t reach its old 2010 peak until 2035.

How does Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOGplan to address this issue?  Harley has launched a massive campaign to spread awareness to the younger demographic, as well as to international markets. Also included in this outreach are African-Americans, women, and Hispanics. In response to the market’s dip based on demographics, the company has launched a demographics page on its site, discussing where the numbers will come from.

This Foolish blogger believes the company will recover from this dip, but that it will dip farther in the coming months before a recovery is seen.  Is the market overreacting?  Of course!  A great time to buy will be when the stock dips below $52 – which it probably will.  This company is still very well managed, which can be seen by looking its strong ratios and financials.  Capital spending is down by almost 7% from five years ago, and gross margins are still at a healthy 43.6%.

One Alternative – Polaris

In contrast, Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE:PII), the maker of the Victory motorcycle, has only a 1% difference in its 52-week high and low price, as compared to 8% for Harley.  Victory is starting to eat into some of Harley’s margins, and is beginning to achieve some strong brand recognition in its own right. The stock is another great buy, in this Foolish blogger’s opinion, as the company sells more than just motorcycles and offers the careful investor more diversity.  Polaris snowmobiles are also an American icon. YTD (year-to-date), Polaris stock has returned 14.88%.

Fools love Polaris more than Harley, too – as it sports a CAPS rating of 4/5, compared to Harley’s 2/5. The dividend yield of 1.8% and a 44.8% return-on-equity are also strong indicators that this stock is a good long term play.

Yet this Foolish blogger doesn’t believe that the Victory will ever significantly eat into Harley’s margins, as the brand is not as iconic as Harley-Davidson, even if it is better engineered.  And both stocks are good plays for the recreation-conscious investor.

Page 1 of 2
blog comments powered by Disqus
Insider Monkey Headlines
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months Click to see monthly returns in table format!

Lists

7 Most Expensive Cities in the World

5 Least Expensive Cities in the World

10 Celebrities Who Believe In Scientology

10 High Margin Food Products to Build a Business Around

The 10 Most Expensive Clothing Stores in the United States to Get Decked Out At

The 5 Biggest Kickstarter Scams That Swindled Backers’ Donations

The 10 Most Expensive Boarding Schools In the World

50 Crazy Facts About Japan You Won’t Believe

Top 10 Least Expensive Hybrid Cars to Save the Planet With

The 10 Biggest ‘Gate’ Controversies in History

The 10 States with the Highest Nursing Shortages Leaving Their Hospitals Depleted

The 10 Best Value Investment Blogs that Every Investor Must Read

The 6 Cheapest Boarding Schools in Europe 2015

The 5 Most Expensive Cars To Insure in the World

The 10 Most Common Genetically Modified Foods

10 Self-Made Billionaires Who Came From Nothing

The 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live in North America

The 13 Most Expensive Headphones in the World to Represent

The Top 20 Wealthiest Soccer Teams in 2014

4 BuzzWorthy Cannabis Stocks And Some Smoking Derivative Plays

The 10 Healthiest Fast Food Chains in America to Dine At

The 5 Most Expensive Cat Food Brands You Can Spoil Your Kitty With

The 6 Best eCommerce Platforms for Small Businesses

The 10 Worst Mistakes an Entrepreneur Can Make

The 5 Most OP Characters in League of Legends to Carry Games and Crush Foes With

The 5 Best Foods to Eat Before Running that Will Help You Pound the Pavement

10 Glaring Plot Holes in The Walking Dead that a Zombie-Filled Bus Could Drive Through

The 5 Biggest Celebrity Stoners Who Love Their Reefer

The 10 Most Overrated Movies Of All Time by Out-of-Touch Critics

Top 6 Least Expensive Cruise Destinations For 2015 that Will Take You to Paradise

10 States with Lowest Substance Abuse Rates in America

The 14 Most Watched TV Finales Ever

The 10 Best Selling Role Playing Games of All Time for PC

10 Most Influential Papers In Economics

Top 8 Biggest Charities in the US

10 Worst Celebrity Career Moves Ever

Top 10 Best Paid Tennis Stars in the World

Top 6 Cities For The Ultra Rich to Live in Comfort

10 Cities with High Demand for Nurses

6 of the Worst Greeting Card Messages Ever Crafted

How to Make Money in ArcheAge and Build Your Empire

10 Foods To Eat To Lower Cholesterol Levels

The 10 Most Hated Television Characters of All Time

The 30 Worst Halloween Costume Ideas Ever Brought to Horrible Life

10 Vocational Skills in Demand Today with Jobs Waiting to be Filled

10 Best Places to Visit in Central and South America

The 10 Greatest Empires in History Which Nearly Conquered the World

The 6 Cheapest Boarding Schools In America 2015

5 Clear Reasons LoL is Better than DotA, Continues to Rule MOBAs

The Only 9 Teams with a Chance to Win the Super Bowl

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!