Harley-Davidson Pressed After UBS Aging Boomer Report

Source: Harley Daivdson | Facebook

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.

  • Patti Domm

    Patti Domm is CNBC Executive Editor, News, responsible for news coverage of the markets and economy.

  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

  • CNBC's Senior Personal Finance Correspondent

  • JeeYeon Park is a writer for CNBC.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC

  • Rick Santelli joined CNBC Business News as an on-air editor in 1999, reporting live from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade.

  • Senior Producer at CNBC's Breaking News Desk.