If you have been in the market for a new bicycle lately, you’ve probably run into this problem - you either cannot find one in-stock available to purchase, or you have pre-ordered the bicycle you’ve had your eye on for a while and it simply has not come in yet. Quite possibly both. Worse yet, there doesn’t seem to be a clear date of when your order will be delivered or available.
Well, you are not alone.
The entire bicycle industry is currently in unprecedented times. There is a perfect storm of a sudden surge in demand coupled with rattled supply chains amongst other factors that are affecting the ability to purchase a new bike or ebike. Simply put, the bicycle industry is experiencing a bike boom, amidst a worldwide pandemic.
We intend to walk through the key reasons why there have been massive delays in bike orders and/or you can’t seem to find one in stock.
Bicycle Factories Get Shutdown
A majority of bicycle manufacturers have bikes and their parts made in factories outside of the US. A primary country being China, where some of the first cases of the COVID-19 virus were reported. As the disease spread across the country it forced shutdowns of many manufacturing factories that were not limited to just bikes. Industries across the board that source materials in China were impacted and hit with shutdowns.
Subsequently, bicycle manufacturers are faced with a significant gap in their supply chain where they are not receiving any new products. This means that by the time the demand increases around April, shops, online stores and other retailers don’t have enough inventory available to meet the new demand.
This event is, essentially, the trigger that created the domino effect that the retail bicycle industry is currently struggling with.
COVID-19 Stay-At-Home Order Increases Demand of Bikes and Ebikes
As we all know, the novel coronavirus eventually begins to quickly spread across the US with various hotspots. Beginning in March, in an attempt to slow down the virus, several states began implementing a Stay-at-home order which included the shut-down of non-essential businesses such as fitness gyms, bars, movie theaters, and more.
These state mandates eventually created a sudden surge in demand for bikes and ebikes as a way for people to go outside and exercise. According to an NPD study, bicycles, and associated parts and accessories had an increase in sales starting in March and took off in April reaching $1 billion. Which is a 75% increase over last year. It was the first time that sales have reached $1 billion since NPD began tracking the market. The growth in demand can be attributed to several factors:
- Need for Physical Exercise:
With the gym closures in effect, many gym goers are now left without their usual form of exercise and have turned to cycling as a way to stay in-shape. It is a relatively inexpensive way that allows people to stay active during the pandemic.
- Commuting and/or Transportation:
Since the pandemic began in the US, officials have been advising people that staying at a safe distance from others is one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. To this effect, many have turned to cycling as a commuting alternative to public transportation (train, bus) which can be highly populated during rush hours and put them at higher risk for contracting the virus.
- New Family Activities:
The stay-at-home orders have led families to find new ways of spending time with each other that are safe and fun. Being hunkered down for long periods of time can lead to a bit of cabin fever thus and going outside on family bike rides can help alleviate it. It has been the solution for many parents to keep their kids active and burn off some pent up energy. Not only are families buying new bikes but are also purchasing all the accessories that come with riding. Most notably, helmets and bike trailers.
- Overall Mental Health:
One of the negative outcomes that has come with the novel coronavirus and the stay-at-home order has been its overall effect on mental health. Cycling is one of many activities that people have turned to in order to improve their mental health. It can relieve stress & anxiety, improve your mood, and can help with sleeping better.
These are just some of the key reasons why the demand for bikes have skyrocketed over the last few months. There are probably many more and most likely a combination of reasons that are listed above amongst others.