WILLIAMSBURG, VA (BRAIN)—If the 2009 holiday season is any indication of what this year holds for the IBD, things could be looking up. And you might be surprised what the big sellers were for them this December.
“The last three weeks went good for us,” said Robert Maye, service manager of BikeBeat in Williamsburg, Virginia. “We sold more kids’ bikes—freestyle BMX.”
Maye attributes some of the BMX spike to the local rec center skate park allowing for use of BMX bikes.
Overall, Maye said BikeBeat’s 2009 holiday season—even with a pounding snowstorm the weekend before Christmas—rivaled its stellar 2007 season. “Definitely better than last year,” he added.
Cleveland’s Spin also had success with the BMX category, according to owner Greg Jackson. He attributes some of the spike to the wildly popular Ray’s MTB Indoor Park now allowing full-time access to the BMX crowd.
“It was something new they did this year,” Jackson said. “It’s a great change. It’s a challenging market [BMX]. It’s such a trendy market.” Jackson said December sales at its Lakewood store were up 10 percent over last year.
Even with stellar BMX sales, Jackson said Spin had to close its second store on the city’s eastern side because of a down economy. The Willoughby store had been open almost three years. “Maybe in a few years we’ll give it another shot,” Jackson said.
DNA Cycles in Scottsdale, Arizona, had a December to remember, with a 25 percent increase over the prior year. “It was rockin’ for us,” said store manager Scott Evers. We sold lots of high-end road, high-end mountain—people gifting themselves.”
A category niche that some people feel is still just a fad sold well for DNA Cycles in December. “29ers were out of control,” Evers said. “We’re selling more 29ers than anything.” In fact, customers preferred the 29er version of Specialized’s iconic Rockhopper to its 26-inch counterpart.
Evers said it’s about a 50/50 split when it comes to customers buying 29ers as their main rig as opposed to a second or third option in their quiver.
“The local economy is good,” Evers said. “Tourists are good. Judging by how much [the Canadian tourists] are spending I’d say the Canadian economy is doing fine.”
Michigan’s Fraser Bicycle saw a “pretty good” December—especially in the tri category. It helps when one of your local tri competitors goes out of business just before the holiday selling season. But it also helps when you tighten up your sales focus, according to manager Ron Schmid.
“We definitely built the store [over the last seven years] to be much more of an elite store,” Schmid said. Schmid said it was a necessary move because lower priced items were being lost to the Walmarts of the world anyway. Thus far it’s worked out for the best.
“We’ve become a destination shop now,” Schmid said. “It’s not uncommon for people to drive two to three hours to this shop.”
Because of the local IBD attrition, Schmid hopes to go from “slightly up” in 2009 to a 10-20 percent increase for 2010.
For more on what retailers had to say about their 2009 holiday selling season, be sure to read the February issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.