So far in 2012 bike imports reached 14.4 million through the month of September, a 29 percent increase over last year. One reason for this increase is that suppliers have continued to bring in substantially more kid’s bikes than last year.
Imports of all kid’s bikes — sidewalk, 20-inch and 24-inch — were up 37 percent over last year; 20-inch bikes were up a whopping 45 percent. These bikes, 8.7 million so far, are headed to mass-market retailers at roughly the same price as last year. It’s unlikely parents are buying 37 percent more bikes for their kids this year; some of these bikes are probably going into inventory.
Imports of large wheel adult bikes are up, though the percentage increase cannot match the gains in kid’s categories. Imports of 26-inch mountain and comfort bikes are up 20 percent and the average unit value fell to $112 from $118 last year. Imports of 700c bikes, including road, cross, hybrid and most 29ers, are up 18 percent, but average value tumbled from $310 to $264.
The sharp drop in average value of 700c bikes is partly explained by a larger market for 29ers at mass-market retailers. The low cost bikes headed to that market skew the average value lower. Even 29ers destined to specialty retailers have dropped in cost, according to the BPSA’s September wholesale report.