Who really makes your bike? It is a simple enough question. Country of origin has traditionally been a touchy subject for brands that rely on Asia-based ‘manufacturing partners’, let alone revealing who the partners are. Discovering the factory behind the brand is a stubbornly topical pastime amongst bicycle consumers. What’s all the fuss about?
So long, November. As cycling consumers finalise their Christmas 2011 shopping list of bikes and gadgets, the bicycle industry’s Product Managers have returned from Taichung, Taiwan, after ordering parts for the bikes those same consumers may buy in 2013. Welcome to the weird world of the bicycle industry product cycle.
Consumers of cycling products have been taken for quite a ride during the last two decades. Bicycle brands, their distributors and retailers, demonstrated a remarkable endurance and capacity to sustain a profitable, trust-based supply chain model that ultimately could not resist a swell in capitalistic desire urged forward by the confluence of global trade re-structuring … Continue reading
The emergence of e-commerce in the bicycle market was an affront to almost every aspect of an industry business model that had for years thrived on handshakes, muffin-toting sales representatives and the seductive embrace of high margins. Though online stores had essentially evolved in full public view, a majority of the bicycle industry’s distributors and … Continue reading
Year 2001. Taiwanese OEM production hummed along, retail prices were buoyant, and cycling was enjoying an upswing in popularity across the Asia-Pacific region. However, as the new millennium’s first decade matured, so too did a trio of inter-related trends that would upset the bicycle industry’s delicate ecosystem and threaten to explode into a full-blown zero-sum … Continue reading
Free-market capitalism, a cycling boom and supply-chain protectionism made the 1990’s a financial boon for bicycle brands, their distributors and retailers. The highly profitable business model of selling bicycles manifested in scaled-up physical supply nodes designed to cope with increasing volumes and demand. It was a comfortable situation for all.
2011 is a fine time to be a consumer of cycling equipment. Brands and their downstream re-sellers are clambering over each other to cut through the noise created from market re-structuring. Many players in the bicycle industry have been left stranded as they’ve failed to adapt to a new competitive normality. The only trick left … Continue reading
Accessibility used to be all that stood between a bicycle brand and a consumer. Today, it’s more complicated. Multiple business models co-exist, creating a plethora of purchasing options for consumers. It is both exciting and confronting. Every node in the supply chain, from factories to bicycle retailers, must be profitable to survive the new paradigm. … Continue reading