MONTEREY, CA (BRAIN)—Perhaps it was the four days worth of sun that caused the state of euphoria that manufacturers were feeling at this year’s Sea Otter Classic. But most likely the jubilance had to do with the strong first quarters most companies reported seeing thus far.
Although attendance numbers weren’t in yet (as of this web story being written), expo numbers were up 10 percent from last year, according to Frank Yohannan, president and CEO of the Sea Otter Classic.
“We definitely had bigger (expo) numbers than last year, which is very good in this economy,” Yohannan said.
Yohannan said he’s pleased with how the recreational riding aspect of Sea Otter went this year. Both the new Sea Otter Gran Fondo and mountain bike tour were successes, Yohannan said. The youth rider programs and kids’ races also went over well with parents and children alike.
Yohannan said most exhibitors reported good numbers when it came to sales on the grounds.
Many exhibitors at Sea Otter also reported strong numbers when it came to their respective first quarters.
“Our first quarter turned out really good for us,” said Brad Klipping, marketing manager for Giant Bicycle. “We had our best day in 18 months a couple weeks ago.”
Klipping gets the sense that the economy is starting to make a turnaround. “I think consumers are sick of saving,” Klipping said. “They need to replace that bike if they’re riding a lot. It’s getting to that point where there’s pent up demand.”
Northern California’s Hydrapak is also reporting a healthy increase in business thus far this year.
“Our distributor clients have raised orders from last year 20 percent, and Hydrapak sales have seen a great boon in business—for those reasons that people aren’t as afraid,” said Matt Patterson, director of sales for Hydrapak. “Last year I think accessories were the first item that weren’t bought because it’s the smaller things that you can do without, but this year we’re seeing a great spike in business with our partners.”
Sea Otter 2011 is slated for April 13 - 17.
For additional Sea Otter coverage including more first quarter thoughts, outlooks for the rest of the year and product trends, be sure to read the May 1 issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.