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Bike sell-in flat in March, BPSA says

Published April 23, 2019
Wholesale bike unit sales down 20% in the first quarter.

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — Wholesale bike sales overall were nearly flat in March compared to last year in dollars, and down slightly in units. The month's results capped a first quarter that saw a 20 percent decline in bike units sold in to retailers, according to the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association's Sell-in Report.

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March bike sales were $93.9 million, up just 0.7% from the $93.3 million in the same month last year. Units were 149,739 in the month this year, down from 179,942 last March. For the first quarter, dollars were down 3.5% and units down 19.8%.

Looking at bike categories, e-bikes once again showed the most growth: Wholesalers shipped $13.8 million worth of e-bikes in March, up 75% from the year before. E-bikes accounted for almost 15% of dollar sales for the month.

The mountain bike category also showed a little spark in March — with dollar sales up 2.7% due to higher average bike prices. Unit sales were down 16.1% for mountain bikes as a whole. Subcategories of the mountain bike showed the continued shift from 27.5 full-suspension to 29-inch models. Combining sales of the two subcategories revealed growth in sales of full-suspension mountain bikes: the combined sales of 27.5 and 29-inch full suspension bikes were $14.2 million last year but $17.3 million this year — a 22% increase. Since full suspension bikes are generally the most expensive category, that helps explain the increase in average price for the mountain bike category as a whole.

The road bike category overall was down 3.9% in dollars and 8.4% in units in March. All types of road bike sale a decline, except for the "other" category, which includes gravel bikes. That category was up 22.5% in dollars and 17.5% in units. 

E-bikes accounted for almost 15% of dollar sales for the month.

In the remaining categories, BMX was down 19% in dollars and 32.5% in units in March; Lifestyle/leisure bikes were down 19% in dollars and 32% in units; transit/fitness bikes were down 22.2% in dollars and 32.9% in units; and youth bikes (excluding BMX) were down 17.8% in dollars and 26.7% in units. 

On the inventory side of the report, bike inventory at the end of March was up 10.9% in dollars, but down 7.8% in units overall. The bike category with the biggest inventory increase was 29-inch full suspension, which was up 164% in dollars and 134% in units. E-bike inventory was up 21.6% in dollars and 19.5% in units.

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