PHILADELPHIA, PA (BRAIN)—More American customers turned to European style hybrid bikes than ever before, driving Bicycle Product Supplier Association unit shipments up 2 percent, and sales up 4 percent over the first quarter.
Suppliers shipped 90,876 hybrids to dealers over the quarter, an increase of 18,214 units over last year. In fact, hybrids are so important to the bike market that removing their contribution to BPSA’s numbers leaves bike shipments down 2 percent, and dollar sales flat during the quarter.
A further indication of shifting consumer preference towards utility is a drop in shipments across all enthusiast categories, with road bikes down 1 percent, full-suspension down 2 percent and BMX/Freestyle down 20 percent.
Front suspension, the only other adult category to show a gain, was up 7 percent. Yet retailers and suppliers note that most front suspension purchases are for utility purposes like commuting, and never see a dirt trail.
Suppliers claimed inventory may have been high going into the first quarter, but it was nothing to worry about. The average selling price of road bikes dropped to $863 from $936 last year, a 9 percent drop, suggesting suppliers were more worried about high road inventory than they let on. For comparison, overall unit value increased 2 percent over the same period, from $377 last year to $383 this year.
Inventory remains a big issue, with suppliers having 37 percent more units on hand, worth 54 percent more dollars than last March. Hybrids are driving much of this increase as suppliers load up so as not to be caught short this season—but at least those bikes are selling. Road inventory remains high, up 29 percent and full-suspension is 37 percent over last year’s levels, with sales in those categories dropping.