Companies across the bike industry have continued to report growth, but not nearly as much as they've reported since the start of the pandemic. Last month's Revenue Round Up
, which aggregated 2021 Q4 reports from several companies throughout the industry, included several instances of sales flattening toward the end of 2021, despite record growth throughout the year as a whole. Shimano today released its Summary of Financial Reports
, which stated that the industry's rapid growth may have started to level in the first few months of this year.
The components giant reported a 13.9% increase in bike segment sales to 118,176 million yen ($928 million USD), and operating income increased 17% to 32,455 million yen ($255 million USD). A year ago, the company reported a 64.4% increase
in Q1 net sales over a turbulent (but ultimately profitable) 2020.
It appears that many of the bike boom riders, for whom biking (not necessarily mountain biking) replaced the gym or public transit, have begun to return to their previous habits, or at least the conversion to biking has slowed or stopped. Inventories are restabilizing for entry- and mid-level bikes and bike components. Of course, that isn't much assurance to those who are still waiting on their high-end mountain bike orders, but it's a promising sign that the mad scramble for any and all bike parts is becoming less severe, and we may see manufacturers able to concentrate more resources on catching up with high-end demand.
Thule reported a 13.5% organic growth in net sales in Q1 to 3,034 million SEK ($308 million USD) compared to the previous year, adjusted for exchange rate fluctuations, which sounds like quite a bit until we consider that net sales increased 32.7% in the 2021 financial year to 10,386 million SEK ($1,054 million USD) compared with 2020, so the rapid growth does appear to be slowing quite a bit. We expect to see those numbers pick up a bit in Q2 and Q3 as temperatures increase in the Northen Hemisphere, but the company would be hard-pressed to keep up with its rate of growth in the record-smashing 2021.
Year-over-year net sales increased 26.8% in the Americas and 8.8% in Europe and the rest of the world after currency adjustment. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Thule stopped selling to Russia and Belarus, and naturally has not been selling in Ukraine at the moment, though those countries make up less than 1% of the company's sales.
Alongside the obvious and tragic human cost of the war, it's unsurprising that consumption of recreational goods is down, particularly in Europe and somewhat in North America, where concern about inflation and rising material prices may impact consumer behaviors.