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3rd Quarter Bicycle Sales Halt Steep Decline
Third quarter bicycle unit sales to the specialty retail market, as reported by the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA), showed a slight 2.5% decline compared to last year while dollar sales were down 2%. This performance was considerably better than the second quarter results when unit sales were down by 12% and dollar sales by 8%. Year-to-date the industry is down by 228,000 units or 10.5% with dollar sales off by $40 million. Obviously there was a leveling of the steep decline experienced earlier in the year. Retail sales picked up in the quarter, and dealers needed to fill inventories following a cautious purchasing approach in early Spring. It appears that the impact of the September terrorist strike had a minor impact in late September sales to dealers.

Inventories dropped sharply by 10.7% or 61,000 units vs. last year with dollar inventories moving down by $9 million.

Cross bike dollar sales were up 2.4% but units were down by 6.5% reflecting a higher average selling price. Year-to-date dollar sales have remained steady while unit sales declined by 9.7% or 19,000. Average selling price has increased significantly this year from $209 to $235. Cross bike inventory dropped by 10% and is now more in line with sales trends. Road bikes were basically equal to last year in sales. Unit inventory went down 9% and dollars were down by 28%. Inventory value is moving down to reflect the lower average selling price.

Juvenile products continued to decline in the quarter but at a less precipitous rate. Dollar sales were down 9.1% with units off 7.4% or 14,000. This compares to a second quarter decline of 37,000 units or 19%. Year-to date kids bikes show a 16% drop in bith dollars and units. Fortunately, inventories declined slightly. It is clear that moss merchant sales continue to impact this market and that selected segments of the BMX products have fallen significantly this year.

The mountain, comfort and cruiser category reversed its downward sales spiral and posted an 18,000 unit increase or 5.1% in the quarter. This represents a significant turnaround from the second quarter when sales dropped by 40,000 units. Year-to-date this group is 73,000 units or 6.3% behind last year. Interestingly, the average selling price for the year has come down to $225 from $235. Inventories continue to be in good shape reducing by 32,000 units of 11.7% vs. last year.

Parts and accessories sales increased by 2% while tire and tube sales were up by 11.2%. The best months were July, up 5% and August, up 7.4% with a slight decline in September. Surprisingly, the P&A inventories went down by $6.6 million or 11.3%. As in the last quarter, helmets and baby joggers showed the most decline of 11.2% and 50.7% respectively.

Despite the turmoil surrounding the industry over the past few months, third quarter performance, while not stellar was a considerable improvement over the first half of the year.

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