Has anyone noticed that it’s Black Friday tomorrow? I mean I’ve been getting an inbox assault from every Tom, Dick & Harriet in the bicycle industry with Black Friday sales since the last week of October. Remember when Black Friday was AFTER Thanksgiving? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
Well, the cycling industry has had a tumultuous year (or three). And 2023’s Bicycle Black Friday looks a bit like a plea for help digging out of a hole. The trick is, most of us cyclists don’t have a ton of extra cash overflowing out of our pocketbooks, either. So, I’m curious to see how all of these clearance sales and discounts will pan out…
Bicycle Industry Black Friday 2023
The bicycle industry has had a year of ups and downs. We’ve seen many brands rebound from a slump in sales after the Covid boom. We’ve also seen a number of bike & component companies finally catch up, after having struggled to produce enough to meet market demand. But more recently, over the last half a year, we’ve also seen a lot of businesses struggling, too. And a number have even had to throw in the towel. From smaller bike makers to race broadcasters to major online retailers, and more.
While predicting the future is always hard from a business point of view, a number of companies made what now seems in hindsight, like wildly optimistic sale projections for 2023 & 2024. And then that pandemic was followed by conflict around the globe, followed by soaring energy prices, followed by record inflation. In the end, we bike consumers have less purchasing power to spend on our hobbies, and more increasingly expensive bills to pay.
Bicycle stock, stacking up
So what’s happened is that there is A LOT of excess bicycle and component inventory sitting in warehouses around the world. Some bike brands have on the order of tens of thousands of extra bikes waiting to be sold, according to our insider contacts. Many companies are weathering the excess; some are not. These 2023 Bicycle Black Friday deals now, could be the last ditch effort for a few companies fighting to get back towards profitability before the end of the year.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
Many are just riding this reliable consumerism wave of holiday shoppers making big spending pushes towards the end of 2023. So, if you have some cash to spare, you can always get in on some great deals. And a little bike retail therapy. And a few more companies can move their balance sheets back into black for the year. (Or at least less deep in the red). I don’t think you’ll have to look far to find discounts.
Parting thoughts on end-of-year sales…
Now, we aren’t really hyping or especially supporting the rampant consumerism of an ever-expanding ‘season’ of Black Friday sales. In fact, one of our favorite sale season stories this week is of Ortlieb’s Repair Week telling you to fix you bag instead of “rebuying” it.
But we ARE part of the cycling industry. And I have a vested interest in the continued profitability of bicycle-related companies. (At the end of the day, my salary comes from financially sustainable cycling companies that are happy & successful enough to advertise with Bikerumor.)
So, here’s to a successful season of sales to close out 2023! I hope our readers survive the holidays. And that the bike industry makes it through at a profitable level that is once again sustainable.