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Are jet skis just aquatic motorbikes?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014 – March 2015 (n=15,913).

When it comes to two-wheeled transport, Australians clearly prefer pedal-power to horsepower. While almost one-third of the nation’s households have at least one bicycle in them, just over 7% are home to a motorbike, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research show. Curiously, households with a motorbike in them are 500% more likely than the average Aussie household to also have a jet ski!

Over the last five years, ownership of motorbikes in Australia has remained fairly steady, rising only marginally from 7.1% to 7.3% of households (a gain of just over 60,000 households). However, this figure looks set to creep up a little more in the coming year, with some 116,000 people planning to buy a motorbike in the next 12 months. Currently, the state with the highest rate of household motorbike ownership is Tasmania (9.6%).

Bicycle ownership is also relatively stable, with 32.8% of households owning at least one, about 100,000 more than five years ago. With 410,000 Aussies saying they’re in the market for a new bike, household ownership should continue to inch up over the coming 12 months. Western Australia (38.2%) leads the country in terms of household bike ownership.

Household motorbike and bicycle ownership by state


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014 – March 2015 (n=15,913).

While far fewer Australian households (38,000) have a jet ski, 51,000 people say they intend to buy one in the next 12 months – and 21,000 of them are also planning to buy a motorbike. Clearly the need for speed is all-consuming, particularly in Queensland, where more than one-third of the nation’s jet-ski households are located.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“With its perpetually fine climate, WA is perfect for bike-riding — so the fact that it has the country’s highest rate of household bicycle ownership is no surprise. In contrast, Tasmania has one of the lowest bike ownership rates, but is the country’s leading motorbike state.

“But the type of leisure vehicle someone owns (or is planning to buy) says more about them than where they’re most likely to live. For example, people intending to purchase a new motorbike or jet ski in the next 12 months are united by an above-average tendency to agree with the statement, “Freedom is more important than the law” – so for a household to have both kinds of vehicle in it is not so hard to imagine.

“When you think about it, both of these relatively small but speedy vehicles give the illusion of open-air, easy-riding freedom. Motorcyclists can weave through heavy traffic, leaving gridlocked, enclosed motorists in their wake; while jet-skiers can hurtle across the water living out their James Bond fantasies, free from mundane land-locked reality.

 “Our data indicates that all three markets are steady, with subtle growth to be expected in the coming year. Knowing not only where their potential customers live but how they think assists manufacturers of bicycles, motorbikes and jet skis to tailor their promotional communications accordingly…”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%