As an auto market, India is known to be a country of two-wheelers. It is the biggest two-wheeler market in the world. A report by Research and Markets has forecasted that the two-wheeler market will be close to 62.6 million units by 2025.
As per the same report, India will control the lion's share with 24.89 million units of that market, followed by China with 16.3 million units. However, what's slowly changing in India is the segment of two-wheelers that gets sold here in the majority.
For instance, against 977,986 scooters sold from April to July 2021, a total of 1,687,062 units of scooters were sold in the same period this year. Motorcycle sales from April to July 2021 stood at 2,577,474 units in comparison to 3,275,256 units sold during the same period this year. Notably, scooter sales have grown 72.50% YoY, whereas motorcycle sales have only grown 27.07% YoY.
With two-wheelers accounting for 80% of vehicle sales in a country where public transportation is inadequate, and cars are out of reach for most, the potential for growth in the scooter segment is enormous as the commuters can glide across the roads and traffic jams without much worry of getting stuck in some unwanted jams, noted Saurav Kumar, MD, Protiviti Member Firm For India.
He said, 'Owing to their relative affordability, scooters are a motorcycle type which remains popular amongst biking enthusiasts who value a light, easy-to-ride two-wheeler.Scooters vary by aesthetic characteristics, mode of operation, and engine capacity.'
Analysing Two-Wheeler OEMs
While the sales of scooters are rising as a whole in the country, it is worth noting here that almost every major two-wheeler OEM has reported higher sales of these than motorcycles. Leading the pack is Honda Motorcycles & Scooters India (HMSI). The OEM had sold 455,214 scooters in April-July 2021, whereas it sold around 812,086 scooter units in the same period this year, denoting a 78.39% YoY incline.
'Scooter market leader Honda is, of course, ahead of the competition as Activa has been ruling the Indian market for decades and it has led the scooter sales in India in July 2022 with 49.79% market share,' noted Kumar.
TVS Motor, known for its Apache motorcycles, is now selling more TVS Ntorq and Jupiter scooters. The OEM sold 196,037 scooters and 189,727 motorcycles in April-July 2021. It sold a total of 408,036 scooters and 215,493 motorcycles from April to July 2022. While the OEM's motorcycle sales grew 13.58% YoY, its scooter sales grew 108.14% YoY.
Suzuki Motorcycle India is one of the OEMs that saw a YoY decline in motorcycle sales but witnessed a healthy jump in its scooter sales. The OEM, against 7,142 motorcycle units selling in April -July 2021, sold only 6,735 motorcycles during the same period this year, but it sold 221,931 scooters during April - July 2022 period against 170,313 scooters it sold in April - July 2021.
'TVS, with an overall market share of 24.91%, marked a robust 141% YoY growth with demand rising for scooters such as the NTorq 125 and Jupiter as well as its only electric offering, the iQube. TVS Ntorq 125cc has been well accepted by Indian consumers due to its styling, features, and performance from that 125cc engine,' explained Kumar.
Will The Trend Continue?
With the advent of more electric scooters hitting the Indian market, it seems that the trend of India selling more scooters is here to remain. Such a scenario, as per Kumar, will not just save middle-class people from expenditures but also vouch for a better tomorrow concerning health and greener technology.
He said, 'The current trends support the fact that electric scooter sales will break the roof with multi-fold rise in sales. The time isn't far when electric scooters will become a prominent presence.'
Hero MotoCorp-backed electric vehicle OEM start-up Ather Energy has witnessed a 219.48% YoY increase in its two-wheeler sales. Ather Energy sold only 4,152 electric scooter units from April - July 2022, whereas it sold 13,265 units during the same period this year.
Okinawa Autotech witnessed a 259.55% YoY increase in electric scooter sales during the same period. However, neither Ather Energy nor Okinawa offers an electric motorcycle under their product portfolio in India.
'High petrol prices as well as the lure of electric mobility, even at a higher initial cost, is also drawing buyers to electric scooters,' explained Kumar.
The importance of scooter sales in India can also be gauged from the fact that HMSI is inching closer to replacing Hero MotoCorp as the largest two-wheeler OEM in India. Though Hero MotoCorp is still selling the highest number of motorcycles here, HMSI’s scooter sales are helping the OEM close the gap.
Numbers sourced from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) report indicate that against 356,173 motorcycles sold by Hero MotoCorp in India in July 2022, HMSI was able to retail only 25,757 units (>75cc but <110cc). However, HMSI outnumbered Hero MotoCorp in scooter sales as it retailed 293,687 units of scooters in India in July 2022, as against Hero MotoCorp’s 22,134 scooter units.