Outdoor Retailer - August 2021 - 7

Blame a slowdown
in bike sales on the
supply chain-the
demand for bikes is
still a frenzy.
ders based on what brands say they can supply.
Marin's factory went to 100% capacity in May
last year based on the bike market spike, and,
as much as possible, it's been running at 100%
for over a year.
" When we can't get specific components,
we scale back on a specific model or substitute
parts, " says Holmes.
" If you don't have planning in place to
meet a delivery, you extend an already long
lead time, " says Thornberry. " Initially there
was enough normal, operating, safety stock
to account for ebbs and flows in the market.
That's depleted. Now it's just-in-time delivery,
and everything that's delivered to us turns
immediately and goes out the door again.
Everything is presold. "
There's no end in sight, but there is also no
HEADLINES
Is the Bike Boom Over?
Ignore declining sales numbers. The answer is no.
By Berne Broudy
ACCORDING TO NPD, YEAR OVER YEAR BIcycle
sales were up 57% in 2021, hitting $6.5
billion across the retail sphere. But starting
this April, bike sales dropped 22% compared
to April 2020, a decline that aligns with the
recovery of the U.S. economy and that NPD
Executive Director Dirk Sorenson says falsely
suggests weakening sales.
The explanation for the decline isn't less
consumer demand; it's a bicycle supply chain
with historically low inventory that just can't
deliver.
Bike companies are trying to make more
bikes. " We have our own factory, so our orders
aren't getting bumped by a larger customer.
We've been delivering bikes reliably, but there
are tons of sourcing challenges, " says Marin
Mountain Bike brand director Chris Holmes.
Marin's deliveries are hampered by missing
components. " There's a shortage of containers, "
says Holmes. " At one point, we had a 900day
lead time on brakes. "
In the bike industry, almost all saddles come
from Velo, and SRAM and Shimano control
drivetrain supply. There's no sign a smaller
component brand will make a break for it anytime
soon to try and gain market share.
" We're not able to ship a bike if we're missing
one bolt, " says Ryan " Rocket " Thornberry,
Yeti Cycles product manager. " The industry
is having cardboard issues, container issues,
and planes and ships are full. " Yeti and other
brands are sold out of model year '21 bikes.
The world wants more bikes, but it can't get
them. So, instead, brands are working with
sales reps and dealers to place " realistic " orplan
to elevate production to the levels consumers
are asking for. Like they did when the
pandemic started, brands are hedging their
bets, fearful that if they go too big, they'll eventually
get stuck with a warehouse full of last
year's rides. But, according to Holmes, even if
consumer demand stopped tomorrow, it would
take more than a year to refill the pipeline. " Our
warehouses, our dealers' warehouses, and dealers'
floors are empty, " Thornberry says.
So, retailers are being asked to buy 2023
bikes a year early. They're guessing what their
preseasons for two years from now should be,
while trying to anticipate what won't show
that's been promised for 2022. Brands, including
Marin, have stopped taking on new
dealers.
" We're expecting strong sales to continue,
but how far into the future is the question, "
Thornberry says. " We don't see it slowing
down. We've scaled up, and we continue to
scale up. We're operating like it's going to continue
for a while. "
At the same time, Southeast Asia, the
epicenter of bicycle frame and component
manufacturing, is in the darkest depths of a
COVID-19 surge, which promises to make
matters worse.
" Four months ago, I would have told you my
'22 stuff would land on time and that there was
going to be an end to the shortage, " says Nat
Campbell, Yeti Cycles global sales manager.
August 2021/ OUTDOOR RETAILER 7
Andrew Kornylak
https://www.npd.com/

Outdoor Retailer - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer - August 2021

Outdoor Retailer - August 2021 - 1
Outdoor Retailer - August 2021 - 2
Outdoor Retailer - August 2021 - 3
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