Wholesale bikes sales down 6 percent through May; inventory up 19 percent

Time: 2016-09-08

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) —Wholesale bike sales were down 5.7 percent in 2016 through May, according tothe most recent report from the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association. The trendwas not promising, either, as sales in May were down 8.4 percent from a yearearlier.

The industry also continuesto struggle with inventory at the wholesale level. Suppliers held 19.7 percentmore bike inventory, in dollars, at the end of last month compared to a yearearlier. In units, supplier inventory was up 18.9 percent. At least it's animprovement over inventory levels at the end of last year, which were up 44 percent over the prior year.

26-inch/fatbike inventory is up 107 percent, while sales in that subcategory were down28.3 percent YTD.

Year to date, wholesale salesin the largest bike categories were all down: Mountain bike sales were down 4.6percent and road bike sales were down 10.4 percent.

Subcategories showed wildlydifferent results as retailers and suppliers struggle to predict the nextconsumer taste shift. Sales of full-suspension 27.5-inch bikes — the largestMTB subcategory — were up 19 percent, while sales of 29er full-suspension bikeswere down 22 percent. In the road bike world, the largest subcategories —performance men's bikes and sport men's bikes — were each down, by 2.1 and 28.6percent, respectively. But the respective subcategories for women, while muchsmaller, were each up, by 6.4 and 8.6 percent.

Year to date, youth bikesales were down 3.3 percent, transit/fitness bikes were down 3.2 percent,lifestyle/leisure down 16.7 percent, and BMX down 1.1 percent.

On the upside, e-bike saleswere up 68 percent through May and up 165 percent in the month of May. On adollar basis, however, e-bike sales are still a small part of the market,making up 3 percent of the total size of the wholesale bike market tracked bythe BPSA through May.

On the inventory front, theindustry for the most part seems to be preparing well for the future, withincreases in inventory of 27.5-inch full-suspension and 27.5-inchfront-suspension bikes, as befits current trends. Inventory of less popularmountain bikes is, appropriately, down.

One outlier: the unsuspended26-inch/fat bike subcategory, where inventory is up a whopping 107 percent overlast year. Sales in that subcategory were down 4.4 percent in May and 28.3percent YTD.

All road subcategories showedan increase in inventory, led by the "other" road subcategory, whichwas up 58.6 percent. Inventory for the largest road subcategory, performancemen's bikes, was up 19.8 percent.