The National Bicycle Dealer Association is the US equivalent of the UK's ACT, and, via Jay Townley's consultancy business, produces extremely detailed monthly reports on bike trade sales and trends, as well as macro-economic stats and forecasts.
The June analysis reports that there are now 245 less US IBDs, 4.6 percent decline since January. On a month-to-month basis the number of stores declined by 321, or 5.9 percent from June 2002 compared to June 2003.
Townley believes that at the current rate of attrition, the number of US IBDs will soon drop below 5000.
"While this is a relatively significant attrition, it appears to be eliminating smaller and margininal retail operations and, at least through the firts half of the year, doesn't seem to have had a detrimental impact on the national [speciality bicycle retail] channel distribution or retail representation," said Townley.
86 percent of retail dollars spent on bikes in the first half of 2003 have gone on just five ou of 18 categories:
Mountain full suspension: 27.24 percent
Road/700c: 20.96 percent
Comfort: 15.28 percent
Hybrid/Cross: 13.74 percent
Mountain full suspension: 8.45
The NBDA estimates IBD bike sales are down between 10-11 percent over the first six months of the year.
"Is it the weather or the economy?" asks Townley.
"While weather is definitely a factor impacting business, it isn't as big a factor as the economy...Weather can improve, but the economy may not, and we need to be prepared to grow our channel of trade...no matter what the weather or the economy are like."
Tons more stats and trends in the full report, click on this link: