MONTEREY, CA (BRAIN) — Tony Lo offered a thumbnail sketch of the global cycling market through Tony’s Report — a short weather report for the industry.
Europe? The weather has been cloudy, rainy and windy. First quarter sales were hammered by bad weather complicated by severe economic headwinds. “It’s been a big challenge for all brands and the economy hasn’t helped,” said Lo, Giant Global Group’s CEO.
Moving on to North America, Lo’s forecast was a combination of partly sunny with occasional clouds. But the U.S. economic forecast is bright despite the snowfall that buried Colorado. “Sales are soft but there’s not too much to worry about. We just must work hard and catch up,” said Lo, whose remarks Wednesday morning on the state of the industry opened the annual Bicycle Leadership Conference in Monterey.
As for Asia, it’s sunshine everywhere following a cloudy March. Sales in Taiwan are good; sales are picking up in Japan and the forecast for China and other Asian countries is for continued sunshine. However, he did make an exception for the Korean peninsula where “it’s just crazy”—a reference to North Korea’s erratic leadership.
Overall, as Lo looked out to 2020, he predicted production and sales could hit 150 million units—a 25 percent increase over today’s production levels. And as for revenue, higher value units will increase the overall industry’s profitability.
Lo has been a major figure in the industry for decades with 41 years in the business helping launch Giant in Taiwan in 1972. Trek’s John Burke, who introduced Lo, called him the most qualified executive in the industry to talk about the global cycling market.
Lo also took a moment to plug his proposal to move the Taipei Cycle show, traditionally held in March, to sometime in early July. Lo raised the prospect of such a move at this year’s March show. It was met with surprise, some hostility and mixed support. Lo is also chairman of the Taiwan Bicycle Exporters Association.
Lo told supplier members sitting in the audience that July would make sense for the Asian market. “The Asian market is growing very, very fast,” he said. A July show would support many distributors throughout Asia. It would also be a more rational time to hold the show since so many companies are already flooding the market with new products in the summer.