USA 2010: Market Down Again After Revival
Bike imports into the United States saw a big growth in 2010 compared to 2009. The first quarter of 2011 shows stagnation as imports of all bicycle categories were down 8 percent in units compared to the same period in 2010. But, for the core market of models with 20-inch wheels and larger US bicycle imports were down just 1 percent in units compared to the same period a year ago.
U.S. Bicycle Imports: 2011 compared to 2010
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce Import Statistics and Gluskin Townley Group Analysis
Total FOB value of US bicycle imports during the first quarter 2011 compared to the same period last year shows a very substantial increase of almost 19 percent, from US$ 252 million to US$ 300 million.
This increase in total FOB value is driven by a 29.5 percent increase in the average FOB unit value of a bicycle imported in to the US. Based on forecasts of cost increases in labor, raw materials and components in Asia, the substantial increase in the total FOB value of US bicycle imports through the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period a year ago appears directly attributable to the increased cost of bicycles from the primary U.S. source countries of China and Taiwan.
Sidewalk, or 19-inch wheel & smaller wheel bicycles totaled 728,843 units or 24 percent of all US bicycle imports during the first quarter of 2011. When these sidewalk bicycles, which are sold primarily through the mass merchant channel of trade in the US are taken out of first-quarter statistics we can take a look at the core market consisting of 20-inch wheel & larger bicycle imports.
Core market U.S. bicycle imports through the first-quarter of 2011 were down just 1 percent in units compared to the same period a year ago. Core market 20-inch wheel & larger US bicycle imports had a very substantial increase of just over 23 percent in total FOB value and almost 25 percent in average FOB unit value during the first quarter of 2011 compared to the first quarter of 2010. China was the source for 94.4-percent of all US bicycle unit imports during the first three months of 2011, and Taiwan was the source for 4.7 percent.
China is remains by far the main importer capturing 69.4-percent of the total FOB dollars in the the first quarter of 2011 with an average FOB unit value of US$55.57. Taiwan accounted for 27.3-percent of first quarter FOB dollars with an average FOB unit value of US$441.65.
U.S. bicycle exports increased during the first-quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. Bicycle unit exports increased by 3-percent, and total FOB value increased less than a percentage point. The average FOB unit value of a bicycle exported from the U.S. during the first quarter 2011 compared to the same period a year ago decreased by 3-percent, or by US$15.72 per average export unit.
While the increase in U.S. bicycle exports during the first-quarter of this year might sound encouraging for the local industry, the overall reality is exports of bicycles from the U.S. has been steady declining for over ten-years.