Friday, March 13, 2009

Economic Stimulus, Bicycle Style

So are you looking for some good news in the economy? Look no further than the bicycle business. Step right this way! There are many signs that the bicycle industry is doing very well, thank you. And it looks to be continuing.

There are lots of reports popping up now about last year and how the cycling industry fared. The term, "record year" keeps popping up, all without the drastic falling off in the latter part of the year that the rest of the economy suffered. I know the bike shop I work for did really well last year too. But that was last year, what of the future, what about now?

Well, I think that the signs I'm seeing point to a healthy year. Maybe not better than last year, but certainly on par with it. For one thing, the shop I work for has been busy. We experienced upticks for every month so far this year over last, and this month is going really well too. In fact our road bike selection, which was busting at the seams just a month ago, is decimated and we had to re-order to fill in inventory already. Repairs have been steadily increasing too.

So, that's just one shop, right? Of course, there are several areas that are not doing as well on the retail level, and I've heard about that too. Certainly there will be some shops that struggle and some will close their doors for good. So why all the optimism?

Well, the company reps I have talked to all seem cautiously optimistic. The over riding attitude seems to be one of "it looks okay, but we aren't sure yet". I think that a collective sigh of relief is going to be the next thing I hear in the industry. Again, maybe not a growth year, but certainly a steady one.

Then there may be more instances of companies caught being cautious, like the one I heard about last night. I received an e-mail in regards to some questions I had about an upcoming product, but I found the other news I received to be rather intriguing. The e-mail stated that the company in question was so busy that every shipment of product received in was already pre-sold and there was little to no inventory left in their warehouse to ship to orders coming in. The comment was something to the effect that they couldn't believe their sales performance in the face of this recession. "Slammed" was how the e-mail described their business now.

While I'm no economic expert, I can stick my head out the window and see what the weather is like with the best of them. I think it is looking pretty fair out there, with peeks of sunshine breaking through. I suspect the cycling industry is in for some fair weather sailing in 2009.

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