BOULDER, CO (BRAIN) — Shipments of bikes to U.S. retailers in September took a bigger dip than anticipated, down 4.9 percent in dollars and 11.9 percent in units compared to the same month last year, according to the BPSA Topline for Cycling RetailTRAK from Leisure Trends Group.
The growth categories in September were 29-inch rigid, front-suspension and dual-suspension mountain bikes, up 12, 19 and 48 percent, respectively, over last September. Dollar sales were also up 34 percent for rigid 29ers, 15 percent for 29-inch front suspension and 35 percent for dual-suspension 29ers.
Twenty-six-inch cruiser, comfort and rigid bikes saw increases in units month-over-month, but of the three, only 26-inch rigid remains up year to date. All other categories, except for tandems, were down in dollars and unit sales for September compared to last year.
“September sales were a bit disappointing because over the past couple months we had started gaining a little bit of the lost sales from the earlier part of the year and improving our YTD numbers. But overall, I don’t think it will change the year-end picture,” said Michael Forte, director of operations for Felt Bicycles and chairman of the BPSA statistics committee. “For a while now we’ve been looking at the fact that we’ll finish the year 5 percent down in dollars and 10 percent down in units. That still looks like what we’re going to end up with.”
Through September, suppliers sold 10.6 fewer bikes to U.S. retailers worth 5.6 percent less in dollars compared to last year.
Forte stressed that despite the setback in September, suppliers continue to make progress in bringing down inventory levels. From an all-time high in May, when inventory was at its highest—up 55 percent in dollars and 71 percent in units compared to the previous year—suppliers have brought it down to 24 percent in both units and dollars in September, compared to last year.
“The silver lining is inventory continues to fall in comparison to last year and even earlier in the year,” Forte said. “2013 isn’t going to be a growth year, but if we finish strong and minimize our losses in the last quarter, we can set up for a good 2014.”
The full Leisure Trends Group sell-in data is supported by dues from BPSA members and distributed to those members monthly.