BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — November gave suppliers a glimmer of hope and helped offset losses earlier in the year. Suppliers shipped 16,715 more units to retailers during the month than a year earlier — an increase of about 12 percent. Dollars were up nearly 3 percent month on month as well, according to the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association's November sell-in report.
Year to date, however, bike shipments were down 7.7 percent, or 183,525 units, through November. The shortfall represents about a $66 million loss in wholesale business for suppliers.
The gains were fueled by 27.5-inch mountain bikes, electric bikes and commuter/town bikes.
Shipments of front-suspension 27.5 bikes were up 30 percent through November, and up 28 percent month on month. Shipments of full-suspension 27.5-inch bikes were up 29 percent through November, and 76 percent month on month. Suppliers nearly doubled the shipments of full-suspension 27.5 bikes this November (4,087 units) compared with November 2015 (2,324 units).
Electric bikes saw huge gains both year to date and month on month. Supplier shipments of e-bikes were up 70 percent year to date and 68 percent month on month. The category accounted for $34.4 million in business through November, up from $19.1 million for the same period last year.
Still, with just over 16,000 units shipped through November, e-bikes represent a small slice of the overall business for suppliers.
The other major gainer was the commuter/town category, which was up 62 percent year to date, and 49 percent month on month. Through November, suppliers shipped 20,000 more commuter/town bikes, adding $6 million worth of business in the segment.
Meanwhile, the wholesale inventory picture appears to have improved. Inventory on hand is down 27 percent overall compared with November of last year. And suppliers have cut their inventory by half across most categories — only electric, commuter/town bikes and 20-inch kids' bikes have inventory above last year's levels at this time.
Suppliers have worked to trim down inventory substantially in categories like men's performance road, with inventory down 38 percent, and women's performance road, down 46 percent.