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2018 wholesale bike sales down 10% in units, up 4% in dollars

Published January 28, 2019
E-bikes drive up average selling price.

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — Full-year numbers from the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association show a slight uptick in the overall value of bikes sold last year, but a significant decline in the numbers of bikes sold. 

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The BPSA's Sell-in Report looks at sales by the group's members — most major wholesale suppliers to IBDs — to retailers. In 2018, those sales totaled $1.112 billion, up $37.5 million, or 4 percent, from 2017. The number of bikes sold was 2.07 million, down 10 percent from 2.3 million. 

The average wholesale price of a bike in 2018 was up 15 percent, from $467 in 2017 to $537 in 2018. 

Adding e-bikes to the mix contributed to the higher selling price. E-bike sales were up $54 million from the year prior, a 78 percent increase. The average wholesale price was $2,033. 

Other bike categories weren't so healthy. The mountain bike category, the biggest single bike style, overall was down 2 percent in dollars and 28 percent in units. Within that category, there was a dramatic switch-over from sales of 27.5-inch full suspension bikes back to 29-inch full-suspension. 

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The road bike category was healthier thanks to growth in gravel bikes. Road overall was up 8 percent in dollars and down 2 percent in units, but the only road subcategory to show growth was the "other" category, which includes gravel bikes. Sales were down for sport and performance road bikes for men and women, as well as triathlon bikes. Cyclocross bikes were up in dollars but down in units. 

The transit/fitness category, a bread-and-butter mainstay for many shops, was very weak, with sales down 13 percent in dollars and 33 percent in units. Lifestyle bikes, a category that includes cruiser and comfort bikes, was up 1 percent in dollars and down 5 percent in units.

Youth bikes (not including BMX) were down 4 percent in dollars and 25 percent in units. BMX was healthier, notching an 8 percent increase in dollars and a 1 percent increase in units. 

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