US Market Struggles with High Inventory
After the first nine months of 2009 warehouses were still stacked with all sorts of bikes in the United States. Little is known about the situation in Europe, but there are some reports on specific countries which indicate that also here inventory levels are
PHILADELPHIA, USA – After the first nine months of 2009 warehouses were still stacked with all sorts of bikes in the United States. Little is known about the situation in Europe, but there are some reports on specific countries which indicate that also here inventory levels are higher than usual.
According to a recent report of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA) which was published by the US trade journal Bicycle Retailer and Industry News; overall inventory in the US was 39% higher compared to end of September in 2008. The BPSA also reported a 9% drop in shipments to dealers in the US during the first three quarters of the year.
Despite the fact that everybody in the US bike scene anticipated an upswing in the sale of commuter bikes in 2008 and 2009; in particular this category is showing a huge unsold number of bikes. 203,000 hybrid bikes are collecting dust in warehouses. According to the BPSA this accounts for a 214% increase in inventory over 2008.
Also the number of road bikes that are still in stock is higher than usual. 88% higher to be precise. Despite a 5% plus in deliveries to dealers, the BPSA reported that still about 97,000 road bikes were unsold. The Association also said in the Bicycle Retailer report that road bike inventory is sufficient to meet dealers demand through February and Hybrid bikes through March 2010.
Turning to Europe; although the market situation in the Netherlands looks positive with a huge 49% increase in e-Bike sale, total sales for bicycles dropped 4% in the first nine months of the year. MD Henk de Vreeze of Biretco, the biggest full service retail organization in the country, recently remarked: “The industry has had a relatively good season in terms of turn-over, mainly as a result of the high-priced e-Bikes. On the other hand, some 100,000 bikes remain un-sold and are still piled up in warehouses and shops. We can not overlook this as a minor aspect. It is causing a serious financial problem for the whole industry.”
In Germany bike sales after six months of 2009 was showing a 8% drop, according to the German Industry Organization ZIV. MD Rolf Lemberg said last September: “If we take into account the slight reduction in stocks, which according to our experience took place across the entire range of suppliers, then sales figures to end consumers could have definitely been more positive.”
This is confirmed by Shimano that said in its financial statement over the first three quarters of 2009: “Sales in mid and high-end segments in Europe have been steady during the first nine months of the year although customers took a cautious approach in placing new orders.”