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Imports of kids’ bikes off to a strong start

Published March 9, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BRAIN)—Suppliers imported 27 percent more bikes in January compared to the year prior, for an increase of 267,153 units, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Commerce Department.

All of the growth was in kids’ bikes. Imports of adult models were down across all categories for the month.

Imports of sidewalk bikes were up 82 percent, and 20-inch imports were up 45 percent. Those two categories combined accounted for 279,955 more kids’ bikes that came across the docks in January. Imports of 24-inch bikes were down 2 percent. Most of these models were headed to mass-market retailers.

Part of the reason for the big percent jump this year is the comparison month of January 2011, when imports hit an eight-year low.

Still, January’s imports of sidewalk bikes were at an eight-year high. And imports of 20-inch bikes also hit a record, making it the third highest January for this wheel size in eight years. This growth suggests suppliers were aggressive with their January orders.

Meanwhile, adult imports—26-inch and 700c—were down 7,206 units to 457,160 for the month. This slight drop occurred as many retailers reported strong January and February sales due to unseasonably mild winter weather across much of the United States. If imports drop in February, retailers could find spot shortages of popular bikes.

Matt Wiebe

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