As Bicycle Sales Bounce Back, the Less Traditional Types Become More Mainstream, The NPD Group Reports

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After a flat year, bicycle dollar sales grew 6 percent in the 12 months ending August 2015, driven in large part by trends in electric, hybrid, and mountain bicycles

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In the world of cycling, less conventional bicycles are becoming the new norm, according to global information company The NPD Group. After a flat year, bicycle dollar sales grew 6 percent in the 12 months ending August 2015*, driven in large part by trends in electric, hybrid, and mountain bicycles.

Bicycle sales typically peak in April and May, but are picking up during the fall and early winter months, which coincides with the fact that cycling, regardless of season, has become embedded in the everyday lives of more consumers. At the same time the number of people traveling to work by bicycle is rising in the US**, sales of commuter/town and cross/hybrid bikes have experienced healthy dollar growth—by 15 percent and 11 percent, respectively—with women’s bikes leading the growth in these categories. Electric bikes have seen the largest sales increase by far, growing by over 100 percent in dollars and over 70 percent in units.

Workday commuting aside, the sales growth rate of mountain bikes is also picking up the pace, driven by the new 27.5-inch wheel size; dollar sales increased by 10 percent during the most recent period, compared to two percent the previous year, while unit sales grew 7 percent after a two percent decline.

“Consumers are looking for more versatile products for their sports endeavors, and they are finding the answer in cycling. They are gravitating towards multipurpose bikes which can be used both on and off road,” said Matt Powell, sports industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Millennials in particular are driving the trend of foregoing auto purchases and riding bikes to work, which is playing a major role in both the hybrid and electric trend. As Millennials become an even greater consumer influence, we can expect these cycling trends to continue.”

Do These Tires Make Me Look “Phat?”
Whether it is an electric or mountain bike, equipping it with fat tires is all the rage these days and offers the potential to influence bicycle sales. Fat tires which, among other features, provide riders with the versatility to plow through sand and snow, have grown by more than six-times in terms of both dollar and unit sales since 2013.    

“The multipurpose capability of fat tires has opened more doors for riders and also for the cycling industry. Cycling has traditionally been viewed as a ‘nice weather’ activity, but now enthusiasts and commuters alike have the ability to ride comfortably, whether in sunshine or snow, on various levels of tough terrain. For more and more consumers, cycling is becoming an active, year-round investment, and as long as the innovation and trendsetting continues, so will the industry growth,” said Powell.

*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, 12 months ending August 2015 / Independent Bicycle Dealers
**Source: The U.S. Census Bureau

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group provides market information and business solutions that drive better decision-making and better results. The world’s leading brands rely on us to help them get the right products in the right places for the right people. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, diamonds, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, technology, toys, video games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit npd.com and npdgroupblog.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup

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