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Op Ed: Bicycle Industry Goes Deep Into Black Friday Discounting – Because They Have To

2023 Bicycle Industry Black Friday sales
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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

(Photo/ROKA)

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.

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Jason DW
Jason DW
3 months ago

I totally agree with what you say and I appreciate your candidness on the matter.

Mark
Mark
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason DW

You can say that about any article ever. That response is super vague.

scott
scott
3 months ago

There is still a shortage of bikes in the $3000 dollar range in the medium sizes. Canyon, Specialized, Trek, Giant are all of stock. Sure you can get a Black Friday discount on a XXL frame or components from Shimano that may need to be recalled. I don’t see any deals yet. Websites post 25% off and then the reduced price is basically the regular price from a few weeks ago. I’ve been shopping all the big brands and there is nothing. Cheap bikes and very expensive bikes are everywhere where is the Carbon, 105 or Rival bikes from reputable makers?????

brett downs
2 months ago

Do not forget to mention that this run on Black Friday Sales is something all brands are forced into to remain competitive with the rest of the industry doing heavy discounting. One brand can’t attempt to sell at full retail when nobody else is.

Mark Cerniglia
Mark Cerniglia
2 months ago

On Sunday I ordered a 2023 Yeti SB140 27.5 for 50% off at JensonUSA. It was $8000, got it for $4000. Wasn’t even looking at a Yeti because they are normally so expensive. I was about to buy a lesser spec’d Kona for $3k until this bike showed up.

Will
Will
2 months ago

Let’s not forget that the whole industry raised their prices by 30+% overnight in 2020-2021. Bikes that were 3500 all of a sudden were 5k. 5k became 7k. Some of that was supply chain, but a lot was just market demand and price gouging because they could. So a market correction was overdue. I don’t want to see small bike companies go out of business because they drive innovation. . . But it is a luxury industry and people will only spend what they can spend after the lights and heat are paid.

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