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Industry showed some sale growth in April, latest BPSA figures reveal

Published May 21, 2019

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — After a dismal first quarter, the U.S. industry turned a corner in April according to new wholesale bike sale figures released by the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association on Tuesday. Improved weather conditions in many regions probably contributed to the budding sales growth as the second quarter began.

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The BPSA's Sell-in Reports for April showed wholesale bike sales were up 16.9% in dollars and 2.7% in units. While not spectacular growth, it's an improvement on last month's report, which showed a decline in unit sales and only a 0.7% growth in dollars sales, contributing to a 20% decline in unit sales in the first three months of the year. 

The report, compiled by The NPD Group for the BPSA, shows wholesale sales by participating association members to retailers, including IBDs and others. Because the report tracks wholesale sales, some of the timing is determined by preseason order deliveries and not directly tied to sales demand at retail. 

In April, the trends for categories continued most recent trends:

  • Mountain bikes, the single largest bike category, were relatively stable: up 1.1% in units, down 3.3% in dollars. Within the mountain bike category, the shift from 27.5-inch full-suspension to 29-inch continued, but 29er full-suspension bikes, while still the most popular subcategory, showed some softness — sales were down 11% in dollars and 7% in units in April. That subcategory's monthly results may have been a bit of a correction, however, as year-to-date sales were up over 30% in units and dollars. 
  • Road bikes, the second largest bike category, were up significantly in the month — 30% in dollars, 7% in units. Most of the growth was for cyclocross and "other" road bikes, which includes gravel bikes. Sales of performance men's road bikes were flat, while sales of triathlon bikes and sport road bikes for men and women were down.
  • E-bike sales were up 90% in dollars and 58% in units for the month. BPSA members reported e-bike sales of $19.1 million in the month, accounting for 14.4% of all sales in the month. Year to date, e-bikes account for 15.6% of wholesale sales.
  • BMX sales were down 4% in dollars and 22% in units.
  • Comfort bikes were up 5% in dollars and down 10% in units.
  • Cross/hybrid bike sales were up 11% in dollars, down 2% in units.
  • Youth bikes were up 16% in dollars, and up 9% in units.

On the inventory side of the report, overall supplier bike inventory at the end of April was 661,293 bikes, down 11% from the inventory level on the same date last year. The bikes in inventory were higher dollar, however: the dollar value of the inventory was up 8%, to $295.1 million.

The bike subcategory with the highest inventory growth was the 29-inch full suspension, where the inventory was up 127% in dollars. E-bike inventory was up 23% in dollar value.

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