Global Bike Shortage Exacerbated By Reopenings

Global Bike Shortage Exacerbated By Reopenings

Global Bike Shortage Exacerbated By Reopenings : As many states lift COVID restrictions and pandemic life returns back to the “new normal,” many Americans are finding themselves shying away from buses and subways, back to one of the most original forms of transportation, the bicycle. 

With this “newfound” passion comes a spike in sales, as well as a “reframing” of what a bike symbolizes, a shift from pleasure to potentially a safer and more accessible alternative to historically popular transportation methods.

The United States, as compared to Europe, has traditionally favored the bikes less, with the United States being designed around cars, in contrast to Europe, which is much more sustainably conscious. However, the scale may be beginning to tip in the opposite direction for the U.S.

To provide some statistics: “April (2020) sales for traditional bikes, indoor bikes, parts, helmets, and other accessories grew a combined 75% to $1 billion compared to last year.

Typically, April sales fall between $550 and $575 million,” according to NPD. Furthermore, “Lifestyle/leisure bikes, which are more basic adult bicycles sold at prices under $200, grew by 203%; front suspension mountain bikes were up by more than 150%, and children’s bikes increased by 107% for the month. Accessories sales also grew, including helmets (+49%), water bottle cages (+60%), and bike baskets (+85%)”  according to NPD as well, staggering numbers.

Beyond just the outdoor market, indoor cycling equipment grew exponentially as well, with stationary bikes growing by 270%, and trainers/rollers grew at 415%, according to NPD.

In an average year, bike shops would ramp up their inventory in late winter to early spring; however, this year, pre-orders were restricted to levels below past years. 

Further exacerbating this issue is the fact that many of these bikes were delayed in their shipments because of shortages of specific components (mainly from China) due to labor difficulties and restrictions on distribution. 

This shortage goes beyond complete bikes and extends to components as simple as bike tubes and many other components crucial to operating a bike. 

Many repair shops have been forced to implement substitutes or upsell customers for parts above what they need due to a lack of “entry-level” components and bikes. Some compare the process to the ordering of a custom luxury car or building a house. Many shops have few cycles under the $1,000 price range, far out of most consumer’s budgets.

While some retailers will receive bike shipments by mid-to-late June, most of these bikes (those at or under $1,000) are already accounted for through early orders of their customers. 

With this comes a word of caution from many bike store owners who urge consumers to be wary of shops that may be overpromising on the demand they can cater their supply to.

It is hard to put a time stamp on when this shortage will come to a lull, but it does not appear to have an end in sight. With more warm weather coming as we enter the summer months, work from home continued, as well as people feeling more comfortable being out and about, it is reasonable to assume it will worsen before it gets better.

Given this, some alternatives exist: (1) Rent a bike – also serves as a way to try out a model or style before you purchase; (2) Join a bike-sharing program – an easy way to supplement a part of or your entire commute, (3) Shop for a used bike – a great way to save money, however, one must be incredibly thorough in the process just as if you were buying a used car.

Whatever you may choose, it is undeniable that a new wave (or should we say a throwback) of transportation is sweeping our nation.

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Global Bike Shortage Exacerbated By Reopenings

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