J.D. Power and Associates have released their 2011 Helmet Satisfaction Study, and the results are pretty interesting. The study takes an 11-point approach on helmet satisfaction, having helmet purchasers rank their lid on the following attributes: quietness; ventilation/air flow; de-fogging performance; face shield effectiveness of keeping wind out; face shield resistance to scratching; ease of replacing face shield; scratch resistance of shell; color/graphic design; weight; ease of fastening the strap; and fit and comfort.

Perhaps unsurprising to many, Arai topped the list as having the highest rating (this makes the 13th year in a row for the Japanese helmet manufacturer), but this year will carry an asterisk, as Icon tied Arai in customer satisfaction with a score of 852 out of 1,000. According to JDPA, Arai’s scores across all 11 attributes were strong, with a particular strength in “fit & comfort” and “face shield effectiveness of keeping wind out”. Similarly, Icon scored especially well in “color/graphic design”, while Shoei got strong marks for “ease of replacing the face shield”.

Other interesting factoids from the study are that nearly one quarter (23%) of motorcyclists are buying their helmets online, a figure that last year was 20% and ten years ago was only 4%. The 10-year trend there isn’t surprising, but we can’t help but think that the jump over last year’s data has something to do with customers being more price sensitive.

The study also finds the following key trends:

  • Overall satisfaction across the industry continues to improve to an average of 788 in 2011, reaching its highest level since the study’s inception in 1999.
  • The average helmet purchase price this year remains consistent with 2010—$209 in 2011, compared with $206 last year. In fact, the average price paid for a new helmet has remained relatively constant since 2007, when the average price was $203.
  • With a consistent increase in the median age of new helmet owners since 2000, this year’s study shows the highest median age to date—48 years.

The 2011 J.D. Power & Associates U.S. Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study is comprised from 4,820 purchasers of new 2009 and 2010 model-year motorcycles who provided information about their most recent helmet purchase experience and helmet use. The study was fielded between August and October 2010. Consider that sampling bias in your comments.

Source: J.D. Power & Associates