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YTD bike imports down, but value up

Published December 12, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC (BRAIN)—Mass-market suppliers saddled with too much inventory and low expectations for this holiday season cut imports of kids' bikes—sidewalk and 20-inch—by 3.8 million units year to date through October.

Overall imports were down more than 4 million bikes to 12.8 million units; last year imports were 17.5 million units through October, according to U.S. Department of Commerce numbers. Yet the average value of the imports this year is at a historic high of $92 a bike, compared with $70 last year. So despite the 26 percent drop in units, the dollar business is only off 4 percent, reflecting fewer Chinese and more 700c bikes in the mix.

700c bikes were the only category to see gains, up 14 percent over the same period last year. Because the Department of Commerce import categories are based on wheel size, some of this gain can be attributed to increasing imports of 29ers. Likewise, part of the 18 percent drop in 26-inch imports is due to more 29ers in the mix.

Suppliers’ imports from Taiwan are up 11 percent in units, with big increases coming in 20-inch and 700c categories. On the other hand, business with China is down 28 percent, with most of the downturn attributed to the drastic reduction in imports of kids' bikes.

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