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Study Reveals Subtle Shifts in Media Consumption Patterns of Motorcycle Riders

Study Reveals Subtle Shifts in Media Consumption Patterns of Motorcycle Riders

Tristin Burdick | January 17, 2024

Our recent longitudinal study provides valuable insights into the media consumption habits of motorcycle riders. With the widespread ownership of multiple devices in households today, we were curious to delve deeper into the specific usage patterns within our target market of motorcycle enthusiasts. Our goal was to gain a clearer understanding of how these consumers are utilizing their devices, the types of media they are engaging with, and their preferences for traditional versus new media channels.

To achieve this, we conducted a comprehensive survey that spanned over a six-month period, from June 2023 to December 2023, involving more than 180 motorcycle riders. The aim was to capture a snapshot of their media consumption habits and observe any shifts or trends over this period.

The results of our study revealed subtle yet noteworthy changes in the media consumption behaviors of motorcycle riders. While the shifts were not dramatically significant, they provided important insights into the gradual evolution of device usage, media engagement, and channel preferences among this group.

 Key Findings

  • High Device Ownership: Almost every motorcycle rider surveyed owns both a smartphone and a TV. Laptops and earbuds are also widely used, with 87% and 82% ownership, respectively, indicating a strong digital connection.
  • TV Viewing Habits: A notable 41% of riders watch TV for 2-4 hours daily, primarily for entertainment. Traditional TV channels like CBS and ABC remain popular, though Discovery channel is experiencing a decline in viewership among this audience.
  • Digital Engagement: Computers and smartphones are predominantly used for browsing the internet and engaging on social media, highlighting riders' active participation in the online world.
  • Streaming Services Preferences: In a shift from the norm, Prime Video and Hulu are more popular among motorcycle riders than Netflix, suggesting unique preferences in this community.
  • Decline of Traditional Media: There is a notable decline in the consumption of traditional media. Only 25% of riders subscribe to a newspaper, and there has been a considerable drop in magazine subscriptions, pointing to a shift towards digital sources for information and entertainment.


Device Ownership and Use Among Motorcycle Riders

It was clear to us that device ownership was high among this consumer group, which is unsurprising. Nearly every participant owns a smartphone or TV in their household, demonstrating their connectedness to the digital world despite their outdoor lifestyles.

Laptops and desktop computers are commonly owned, 87% and 59% respectively. These are essential tools for riders, serving a dual purpose for work-related tasks and leisure activities. Additionally, 82% of riders own earbuds, suggesting a strong preference for personal audio experiences, whether for music, podcasts, or other forms of audio entertainment.

General TV Trends

Television plays a vital role in the leisure time of motorcycle riders. Our study found that 41% of riders spend 2-4 hours daily watching TV, while another 26% watch TV for more than 5 hours a day. This indicates that a significant portion of their day is devoted to television, highlighting its role as a primary leisure activity. For stakeholders, understanding the prominence of TV in the daily lives of motorcycle riders is crucial, especially when considering the impact of other media channels discussed in the study.

We also observed viewership preferences in our control group based on age. Older riders show a clear preference for traditional forms of television, such as cable and satellite TV. In contrast, younger riders are more inclined towards streaming services. This trend aligns with broader consumer behaviors but serves as an important reminder to traditional marketing channels. To engage the next generation of consumers effectively, it's essential to have a presence in the spaces where they spend their time, which, as the data suggests, increasingly includes streaming service providers. Understanding and adapting to these shifting preferences is key to staying relevant and connected with younger audiences.

TV Service Providers

In our investigation into TV viewing habits, it emerged that most motorcycle riders in the study have a cable TV subscription, with a smaller segment using antenna TV or satellite. Notably, there was a -3% decrease in cable TV subscriptions over the six-month period of the study. This decline aligns with broader media consumption trends, and we anticipate this downward trajectory in cable TV subscriptions to persist over the next 6 to 12 months.

TV Networks Watched

We found that the majority of cable and satellite TV users, particularly older riders, predominantly watch traditional networks such as CBS, ABC, and NBC. On the other hand, we observed a notable decline in viewership for channels like the Discovery Channel, especially among younger riders. While this may not offer profound insights, it's a noteworthy observation. A key finding from our study is that TV viewership across all channels declined over the six-month period. This trend suggests a potential need for stakeholders to reevaluate their traditional TV marketing strategies. Understanding how to effectively target programmatic or TV advertising to relevant audiences is becoming increasingly important. The data we collected, as shown in the accompanying chart, provides valuable insights into the preferred TV networks of motorcycle riders, which can inform more effective advertising decisions.

Video Streaming Services

In video streaming services, we observed a notable change in preferences among motorcycle riders. Amazon Prime Video and Hulu have become more popular choices, overtaking Netflix. During the six-month research period, 5% of respondents discontinued their Netflix subscription. Notably, Hulu experienced the most significant increase in users, gaining 7% more subscribers. Conversely, HBO Max saw a decline in its subscriber base. These trends offer valuable insights for marketers about where motorcycle enthusiasts are primarily consuming content and spending their leisure time. If Hulu and Prime Video continue to attract more subscribers in the coming 6-12 months, it could be strategic for marketers to allocate a larger portion of their advertising budget to these platforms. Doing so could capture a broader audience and enhance the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Music Streaming Services

Music streaming services are important for motorcycle riders to access their favorite music wherever they are located. Approximately half of all respondents are subscribed to a music streaming service, with SiriusXM, Pandora, and Spotify being the most common. We noticed a drop in subscribers by the leading two music streaming providers.

Podcast Platforms

Podcasts have gained prominence as a marketing medium, but their adoption among motorcycle riders has been relatively slow. Our study reveals that only 30% of motorcycle riders listen to podcasts regularly, which is 11% below the national average. The majority of these podcast listeners tune in once a week, with preferences ranging from popular shows like Joe Rogan to more niche, independent podcasts. The trend indicates that younger riders are more inclined towards the podcast medium compared to older riders. Regardless of age, the preferred platforms for accessing podcasts among motorcycle enthusiasts are primarily Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Social Media

Social media remains a key media channel for consumers, including motorcycle enthusiasts. In our study, we found that the most used platforms among this group are Facebook (65%), YouTube (49%), and Instagram (30%), with Facebook being the predominant choice. However, in recent years, Facebook has faced increasing competition, particularly from platforms favored by Gen Z. While Facebook marketing is crucial for engaging current motorcycle consumers, it may not be as effective for reaching future audiences. Our six-month research period even showed a -7% decrease in Facebook usage among motorcycle riders.

Looking ahead, we anticipate that Facebook usage will stay relatively high among motorcycle enthusiasts over the next 6-12 months. However, there might be a stabilization or slight decrease in its usage, based on current trends. Therefore, while Facebook should be a central part of marketing strategies for now, it's important for marketers to start considering other platforms to reach future consumers. For instance, TikTok has seen a surge in popularity among Gen Z, with 76% usage reported last June.

An omnichannel approach in social media strategy will become increasingly important as platforms like Facebook see a gradual decline in use among motorcycle riders. YouTube, with its substantial user base among this demographic, is expected to remain a dominant channel. Marketers should, however, plan to expand their presence on other social platforms to effectively engage with future motorcycle consumers.


Magazines, especially those centered around automotive and powersports, continue to be popular among motorcycle riders, with 64% subscribing to at least one magazine. These publications should not be overlooked in marketing strategies, as they offer a valuable opportunity to inform readers about new vehicle models and other relevant content. Magazines are also a well-accepted medium for advertising, as readers typically expect and accept ads in this format. According to a survey by Fortune magazine, two-thirds of adults aged 18-34 still appreciate the tactile experience of reading a printed magazine. Despite the rise of digital media, magazines are expected to maintain their relevance.

However, the stability of magazine subscriptions can be influenced by external factors, such as economic conditions. For instance, as living costs increase, consumers may look to cut expenses, and magazine subscriptions could be one area where they choose to save money. This context is reflected in our study, where we observed a 15% decline in magazine subscriptions over the last six months among motorcycle riders. Over the next 6-12 months, we anticipate this trend to stabilize, but overall subscription levels are likely to remain significant. Marketers should consider these dynamics when planning their strategies and remain adaptable to shifts in consumer preferences and economic factors.


Newspapers, unlike magazines, are not sustaining their prominence as a key medium. While newspapers have historically been a vital part of the American media landscape, their subscriber base has been dwindling. The PEW Research Center reports that leading newspapers such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have seen a steady decline in subscribers since the mid-2000s. Our study echoes this trend, with only 25% of motorcycle riders currently subscribed to a newspaper, favoring publications like the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Over the past six months, there was a -6% drop in newspaper subscriptions among our study participants. This decline is likely influenced by the same external factors affecting magazines, such as economic considerations and a shift towards digital media. Looking ahead, we anticipate that newspaper subscriptions will continue to remain low over the next 6-12 months, and there's a possibility that this downward trend could persist during this period.

The Future of Media Consumption among Motorcycle Riders

What We Discovered

Our comprehensive study on motorcycle riders’ media consumption habits reveals several key findings. Nearly all riders are connected digitally, with high device ownership including smartphones, TVs, laptops, and earbuds. TV remains a primary leisure activity, with 41% spending 2-4 hours daily watching it, mostly for entertainment. However, there's a shift in content preferences, with younger riders leaning towards streaming services like Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, which are surpassing Netflix in popularity. Social media usage patterns are changing too, with a notable decrease in Facebook engagement and a potential rise in other social media platforms. Traditional media like magazines and newspapers are experiencing fluctuations in subscriptions, indicating evolving preferences.

So, What Does This Mean?

The shift towards streaming services and digital platforms suggests a transformation in how motorcycle riders consume media. This change is significant for marketers and content creators as it highlights the need to adapt strategies to these evolving preferences. The decline in traditional media subscriptions, alongside the rise of digital platforms, indicates a broader trend towards more personalized, on-demand content. For businesses targeting motorcycle riders, understanding these preferences is crucial for effective engagement and maintaining relevance.

Now What?

Looking forward, it’s essential for marketers and media strategists to pivot their approaches to align with these trends. Emphasizing digital and streaming platforms in marketing strategies will likely yield better engagement with younger motorcycle riders. While traditional media shouldn't be completely overlooked due to its ongoing relevance among certain rider demographics, diversifying marketing efforts to include emerging digital platforms is crucial. An omnichannel approach, incorporating both traditional and new media, will be key to capturing the diverse preferences within the motorcycle rider community. Additionally, monitoring these trends and being ready to adapt to further changes will be vital in staying connected with this dynamic and evolving audience.

about the author

Tristin Burdick

Research Analyst, EPG Specialty Information

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