March 26, 2003

J.D. Power and Associates ranks motorcycle helmets

Westlake Village, California – For the fifth consecutive year, Arai helmets rank highest in consumer satisfaction with motorcycle helmets, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2003 Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study released on Tuesday.

Performing well across all 12 attributes measured, Arai ranked the highest overall among the 12 helmet brands included in the study rankings. Arai receives particularly high marks for fit and comfort, colour/graphic design, ventilation/air flow, as well as consumers’ overall rating of their helmet.

Schuberth, Shoei, Harley-Davidson and AGV follow Arai in the rankings, respectively, all performing above industry average. Ranking below average were KBC, HJC, Bell, Fulmer, AFX and Bleffe.

“While the gap between Arai’s scores and those of the other brands has closed considerably this year, Arai consumers continue to be very satisfied with nearly every aspect of their helmet, particularly in the areas of aesthetic appeal and fit and comfort,” said Todd Mundorf, senior research manager for J.D. Power and Associates.

Consumers cite fit and comfort, and style and colour, as the top two considerations when purchasing a motorcycle helmet. Price is considered a distant third.

“Serious riders will always want a helmet that looks good and is comfortable to wear, and they’re willing to pay a price premium for both,” Mundorf said. “The study shows there is definitely a positive relationship between the price of the helmet and customer satisfaction.

The three brands with the highest consumer-reported average prices garner the three highest overall customer satisfaction rankings.”

While more than 21 percent of motorcycle owners use the Internet as a source during their helmet shopping process, only 8 percent purchase their helmet online. Dealerships and accessory shops still account for more than 80 percent of helmet sales.

“The Internet is a viable sales medium and its full potential may not be currently realized in the helmet market,” Mundorf said. “Consumers using the Internet to purchase their helmet are more satisfied with every helmet attribute studied when compared with consumers purchasing through more traditional

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