Cycling News

As Bicycle Sales Increase, Shortages Occur

Bike shortage emerges during coronavirus pandemic l GMA

Industry experts told "GMA" they were caught off guard by the spike in demand for bicycles that emerged during the pandemic.

In the market for a bicycle? Good luck! They are in high demand, and have disappeared from retail stores, particularly the big boxes. It is a perfect storm for bicycle sales. It is a combination of high demand and a bicycle shortage.

Why the Demand?

Primarily, the high demand just now for bicycles is because of the orders to stay indoors due to the coronavirus pandemic. People who have been locked-up in their homes feel the need for exercise and the freedom and independence felt in riding a bike. Some families have opted to buy bikes for the whole family, and have found streets much safer to ride because there are fewer cars out there. Also, because bicycles are a form of transportation, bike shops are considered essential businesses and have remained open. And bicycles can be purchased online, and be shipped directly to one’s door. Specialized bicycle dealers report the demand for entry-level bikes being 2 to 3 times normal. Other stores report double to triple digit increases in demand.

What About the Supply?

The bicycle shortage resulted partially from our trade policies. When tariffs were put on goods from China, the supply of bikes to sell in the U.S. went down about 25%. Then with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, manufacturing plants in China quit producing both bikes and bike parts. Stores in the U.S. manufacturing bikes found parts unavailable; bikes could not be finished. Then the pandemic hit the U.S. and halted our manufacturing. This has all resulted in a lower supply for sale in the U.S.; a real bicycle shortage..

What About Used Bikes?

Used bikes are normally easily available as traditional riders up the quality of their ride. Serious bike riders, including those who depend on the bike for their daily transportation, have moved up to bikes costing thousands of dollars. And demand for used bikes did increase with stay-at-home requirements of the pandemic, But many of these bikes needed to be repaired before going back on the road, and replacement parts have become hard to find. Therefore, more bicycle shortage.

What is the Forecast?

Some new bikes are due to start showing up on dealers’ floors in June. By July, an increased supply of bikes should be available in the U.S. However, it may be that the present situation will result in an increased use of bicycles for transportation, and supplies of new bikes costing less than $1,000 will remain tight. It may mean a new day for bicycle shops in the U.S.

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