|If you believe the hype, this is what will "save" the bicycle industry.|
Anyway you look at it, the statistics are showing less money at retail, less money at wholesale, and manufacturing is actually taking the biggest hit. Imports are way down, unless you are talking the kids sidewalk bike category, and the meager numbers of "e-bikes", (In comparison to the rest of the categories, e-bikes are one of the smallest overall.)
Yep, these are the bad old days. It doesn't look like they are going to get better anytime soon either. Oh, and by the way, this isn't relegated to just the bicycle industry either. Many segments of retail are down over the past year as well. But I'll just keep the focus on bicycles for this post. I just wanted to point out that you may be hearing "loud sucking sounds" elsewhere in the economy.
So, I am thinking that while we know businesses are down, I have noticed something else on the rise over the past year or so as well. That being how many oddball, strange ideas are surfacing claiming to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. It started out with a few categories and products, but of late, it seems that things are getting really weird.
|You could argue that a fat bike based cargo bike is another big reach for the industry, but this is Surly after all!|
There are more oddball ideas than you can shake a stick at. Mountain bike specific bell mounts, bent wire saddle suspension that relies on how fore and aft the saddle is set to accommodate rider weight, electric bikes that look more and more like motorcycles than bicycles, and there are more.
So, if it seems that the bicycle industry has lost its mind again with some new idea, standard, or bizarre product intro, just remember, they need to find a cash flow solution and fast. Otherwise we may see a lot less of even good ideas in the future. This downward trend cannot be sustained much longer without a lot of collateral damage.