Finance and Business

How Bike Shops Kept Up With America’s 121% Spike In Demand

[Music] when the coronavirus shut down public transportation and gyms americans returned to a trusted classic the bicycle in march leisure bike sales increased by 121 percent in the us by april bike shops across the country were cleared out of inventory at no point did we ever satisfy demand and that demand is still holding strong but bike companies are facing a problem a shortage of bikes this whole shelf right here all the way back to that side of the warehouse is usually stacked with bikes and now there’s nothing we visited two bike shops one in la and one in arizona to see how they’re keeping up with this unprecedented surge in demand during typical times we have bikes in stock we could ship them the bike that same day that’s mehdi the founder of state bicycle in tempe arizona usually he sells 30 to 40 bikes a day but now he’s more than tripled his daily orders to a hundred and fifty metis bikes are made in taiwan and china in january and february right around the lunar new year all bike suppliers really were shut down for at least four weeks then coven 19 shut down the factories for an additional month through february that happened just before demand for bikes started to surge stateside in mid-march only a couple weeks later we were completely sold out of bikes even though bike shops were deemed essential businesses medi still had trouble bringing new bikes in production times are getting longer and longer and that’s why we’re seeing such a shortage of bicycles still over in los angeles adam mcdermott had a similar story his company linus bike was wiped clean of its bikes we immediately sold through all our inventory and was just like waiting for the next container and by the time that next container arrived it was already completely sold out adam and his business partner chad kushner started linus bikes back in 2007. customers can buy their 50s french-inspired city bikes starting at 400 online our web traffic increased by like 150 like every sector that we sell through we’re seeing you know 100 increase in revenue built in taiwan the bikes are sold all around the world but we stopped by the semi valley warehouse in l.a we’re down to like kind of just the bare minimums here if we could just get more product that’s really what we’re facing right now from his venice beach shop not too far away adam’s team would normally sell wheels to walking customers meaning they could buy a bike and take it home that day but since the pandemic this isn’t an option inventory supposed to last us the entire year we were selling this in a matter of months so at like peak in july we were back ordering for some models all the way to february which is insane for us linus went from selling 1200 units a month to about 4 000. now it’s taking the company nearly double the time to produce a single bike to keep up with demand both companies had to get creative we quickly went to a pre-order method and started ramping up our production overseas medi also put a cap on the number of bikes each of his 300 dealers could sell in order to prevent larger shops from eating up all the inventory and kind of taking away availability from some other shops over at linda spikes when covert broke out new jersey where our other warehouse is the picture looked much worse there for new jersey and new york so we diverted all inventory to the west coast just because it seemed like this warehouse will keep operating so we’re doing all our shipping from the west coast it’s it’s much bigger expense but at least we knew this this warehouse would be functioning adam’s also working on a new kind of inventory we just introduced e-bikes they’re just landing now so they’re not even available we’re just we’re still pre-selling them and those range from about two thousand to three thousand dollars it’s really massive kind of change it became a business of of managing inventory and trying to allocate inventory where we can get the bike to the customer how we can like keep one customer happy and not lose another customer if we had bikes in stock that we could send to someone same day i could only imagine sales might be up 10x or more linus doesn’t anticipate getting many of its popular bikes back until 2021 i think it’s really key not to rest on this crazy demand that is temporary i know it’s temporary in some form i think if a business just kind of expects it or assumes it like you’ll pay for it later my advice for any other small business owner out there try to be as agile and flexible as you can in order to adapt and survive for both companies the biggest surges happened in cities where residents traded in crowded trains for bikes it’s portland new york brooklyn chicago los angeles is a big market people just feel a lot more comfortable commuting by bike versus subway trains or buses now and the demand for two wheels isn’t expected to let up we think demand will hold into 2021 with so many more riders experiencing their cities on bikes the future of american cities might actually transform as well more and more people are going to look to commute via bike which is obviously awesome for the environment we love to see that and who knows maybe the next lance armstrong or the next tour de france winner has gotten on a bike during this pandemic and several years time we’re going to kind of see the next great american road cyclist come out of this
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