Bicycle imports dropped to a near record low of 38,367 units for the month of April 2020. This will almost certainly prove to be the calm before the storm.
As we now know, bike sales at most bicycle retailers started booming from late March, but due to the lead time in ordering more bikes from overseas, getting them manufactured then shipped to Australia, it will take months before we see the impact of the sales boom upon import figures.
But the low April import figures help explain why wholesalers quickly ran out of stock of certain types and price points.
April 2020 was 20,645 units down on the April 2019 total of 59,012, a drop of 35%. It may well be that more units were ordered, but Chinese factory disruption due to Covid-19 plus shipping disruption may have limited the number of bicycles reaching our shores.
The fall was equally split across adult and children’s bicycles.
With data now in for the first four months of 2020, all of them were down on the corresponding first four months of 2019. By contrast the previous four months from September 2019 to December 2019 were all up on the corresponding months in 2018.
The two variances almost balance out. In total for the first 10 months of the current financial year (1st July 2019 to 30th April 2020) 989,766 bicycles have been imported which is 1% down on the 1,000,070 bicycles imported during the first 10 months of the 2018/19 financial year.
Meanwhile latest figures just arrived for May 2020 show imports picking up to 81,667 units, more than double the April 2020 total.
It was the biggest May total since 2014, but not dramatically up on the average May numbers over the past five years which have typically been just over 70,000 units.
Kids bikes imports almost doubled from April’s 15,545 to 28,123 for May.
Adult bike imports more than doubled from 22,822 in April to 53,544 in May.
Because of manufacturer constraints combined with unprecedented demand causing even longer lead times between orders and deliveries, we won’t have a full picture of the extent of the initial Covid-19 induced bike boom for at least another six months.
Bicycle import figures are kindly provided by Bicycle Industries Australia who receive Australian Customs data.