Harley-Davidson Pressed After UBS Aging Boomer Report
Senior Editor, CNBC
Picture this: a gray-haired 50-something gunning the motor of her tricked out Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
While that may be a sexy image for baby boomers, it's not for at least one analyst at UBS Investment Research.
Shares of the Harley-Davidson were under pressure after the analyst suggested that an aging consumer may be a bigger headwind for the motorcycle maker than tough year-over-year comps. UBS research suggests that U.S. retail sales in January-February may be down 4 to 5 percent year-over-year at the dealer level.
Analyst Robin Farley writes: "Even smoothing for tough year-over-year weather-related comp, peak-to-trough analysis suggests January-February would have needed to be up 2-percent to support 5-6 percent full year sales growth."
Farley believes that the decline in retail sales is more than just a cyclical trough and is tied to a changing demographic trend—the average rider is aging. Farley notes that the Harley stopped disclosing the average age of the rider in 2008 but that the average had been climbing even before then. In 2008, the average rider was 48 years old, up from 46.1 years in 1999.
UBS maintains a "neutral" rating on shares of Harley-Davidson with a $53 per share price target.
It closed Tuesday at $52.79, down 3.12 percent.