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Imports Drop 14 Percent

Published August 16, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BRAIN)—Whatever the reason, weather or the economy, suppliers did not find parents buying kids' bikes this year. Imports of sidewalk bikes with wheel sizes under 20-inches fell 9 percent through June, while imports of 20- and 24-inch bikes were down 32 percent.

This is not good news for mass-market suppliers who import most of these bikes. Juvenile bikes are their bread and butter and they imported 1,212,442 fewer units over the first six months—a big hit to their business.

Adult imports on the other hand faired much better, and the mass business may be shifting from kids to adult product. Road bike imports are up 100,948 units, an 18 percent increase to 669,833 units. Suppliers also are bringing in more up-market products. The average road bike cost $288 this year, compared to $268 last year, a 7 percent increase in value.

Mountain bikes and 26-inch comfort and cruisers are the other adult category, and while they are fairing much better than juvenile imports, the category still fell 2 percent.

Canada shipped only half the bikes this year as they did last, as its exports fell by 2,682 units. The big drop in cheap kids' bikes hit China hardest; it shipped 1,179,804 fewer units than last year, continuing a losing trend that started in 2005.

Taiwan, boosted by its increasing road business with the United States, saw its unit exports climb 4 percent to 426,794. It was the only export country to pick up substantial bike business.

—Matt Wiebe

Topics associated with this article: Earnings/Financial Reports

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