Sales in March were good but they didn't make up for the extremely sluggish sales in January and February.
The NBDA's March/First Quarter 2003 RDC Analysis can be downloaded as a PDF from the link below and includes a category breakdown.
This analysis is based on sales stats tracking of nineteen bicycle brands across a large sample of US IBDs.
NBDA's retail consultant Jay Townley said:
"March was actually a very good month for dealer retail sales, an increase of 15-percent over the previous year, but its gain was not enough to off-set the losses in January and February. RDC dealer panel inventories of the 19-brands tracked at the end of the first quarter 2003 were up approximately 12-percent from the end of the first quarter 2002 - an
indication that dealers had sufficient inventory to support sales during the
"For the first quarter it is estimated that new bicycle shipments from suppliers to dealers will be down approximately 30 percent."
The slow start to the year can be put down to worries about the economy and homeland security, as well as the weather.
"Weather has been a big factor relative to bicycle sales in the US and our spring has been cold and wet, with really bad weather conditions in parts of
the country," Townley told BikeBiz.co.uk.
"But the biggest problem with business is worry. The worry about the war is over, but it has been replaced with worry about the job market and the economy - and it sounds like the Home-Land Security folks will be raising the alert level, so that will add to the list
[of things] to worry about, along with the drop in the dollar, which sounds good for exporters, but set-off [by] a drop in stock prices earlier in the week.
"Until such time as businesses stop laying off workers, and start hiring, the US economy is going to continue with the pre-war going-nowhere-slowly scenario. The trick to all this - is figuring out how to sell lots of bicycles despite weather and worry!"
The NBDA is doing its bit to engender the IBD's fighting spirit. It recently co-sponsored a conference call from mainstream retail guru Jay Abraham, details of which are on the PDF below.