Friday, December 30, 2016

Friday News And Views

How much longer will we see category expanding, experimental marketing bikes like this?
2016 was a rough year in the cycling industry and most of that was due to an over-supply issue in the industry coupled with a downturn in growth of the market. Pressure from various sources on the traditional bike shop retailer were also to blame for a less than good showing for the year. The fall out from 2016 will be felt well into 2017. What will we see? It is hard to say, but here is some speculations on my part. Things I feel will be the effects of what we saw going on during this past year.
  • Contraction of brands: I think we are going to see some more consolidation in the marketplace. Some brands may go away, but I think some others will be eaten up by investment firms and conglomerates eager to add a brand with a marketable name. We're going to see some radical changes in 2017 and beyond with regard to how we perceive certain brands going forward.  
  • Changes in how we buy: This has been happening for a few years, but I feel that now we are going to see it accelerate in pace. There are a couple of brands that have already shown their hand as to the future of bicycle sales for many brands and Canyon Bikes will also be a big influencer on this as well. They are supposed to be selling direct to consumer in the US starting this coming Spring. Canyon does not sell through the traditional bike shop model and is on par with the best brands we have here in the US. We haven't seen anything like this here. How will traditional retailers like Trek and Specialized react? 
  • Contraction of choices: I think part of how the market will go in 2017 and beyond is that we will start seeing certain kinds of bicycles go away. There already have been hints at this in the media. The "next best thing" style of marketing is not working, and what it has done is that it has caused a flooding of choices in a short period of time. The consumer is inundated with choices, many of which are confusing and misunderstood. Think about how long it took folks to catch on to 29"ers, as an example. The market cannot wait to find out if plus bikes or full suspension fat bikes will gradually catch on in similar fashion. Expect things on the fringes to get weeded out.
Your next bike shop?

  • More Mobile Bike Shops: There are fewer bicycle shops in "brick and mortar" form every year. This has led to an issue where many smaller villages and towns do not have service for bicycles at all. Customers often have to travel for hours to find a shop in Iowa, for example. In bigger urban areas, people are pressed for time and a service which will make your bicycling service needs more convenient may be of great appeal. Velofix, a mobile bike shop company, just sold the rights to the entire state of Minnesota to a franchisee. This is the tip of the iceberg. While I do not foresee a huge impact upon traditional bike shops in major urban areas, I think that more rural areas may see the mobile bike shop as the only option going forward. I expect mobile bike shops will become a huge force in medium to smaller sized cities and towns going forward. 
  • E-Bike marketing will increase: You are going to see a HUGE push by the industry to get you to ride an, motorcycle, in the coming year. The industry cannot imagine that you won't want one of these things. They have been getting the media to go ga-ga over e-mountain bikes all throughout 2016 and I expect more of the same nonsense to occur in the future. Sooner or later this house of cards will fall though. Look- prices for e-bikes are far more expensive than for traditional bikes. Traditional, non-pedal equipped scooters are already selling at similar prices to e-bikes and have greater range and versatility right now. Once government gets their hands on licensing these motorized bicycles, the end will come faster than a bolt of lightning. In my opinion, the only advantage to e-bikes is that they are a motorized vehicle that escapes the need for license and insurance requirements. Otherwise, a lightweight, easy to pedal, comfortable bike trumps the e-bike for ease of portability, personal satisfaction in overcoming challenges without motorized assistance, and in ease of maintenance and initial price. 
Okay folks, that's my wrap on News and Views for 2016 with a look at the future from my view. Have a Happy and Safe New Year and a healthy, fun, adventurous 2017!!

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