Supply Chain Challenges in 2022
The off season was a much needed time for the industry to play pandemic catch up, especially at the manufacture level. Never before had the outdoor industry experienced so much demand as during the pandemic. High gas prices always push people to bikes, but nothing near pandemic levels, and most gas price fluctuations do not last for 2 years. The off season was good for producers because demand finally waned, and many in the outdoor industry workforce returned to work, so hopefully we can roll into spring at normal stock levels…hopefully.
With gas prices are record highs at the time of this writing, it remains to be seen what the demand will be like this spring. Will people keep their vehicles in the garage and opt to commute by bicycle? Are employers going to keep their staff working remotely? Will inflation impact purchasing of new bicycles? All are questions we don’t know the answers to.
Meanwhile, while not all categories of bikes are back to normal stock levels, bike shops are doing the best they can to keep customers buying. Road and gravel bikes are still scarce and probably will be the last category to return to normal. Electric assist and recreational bikes still are the bread-and-butter for the industry, with entry level mountain bikes not far behind. Manufacture’s are rushing to meet demand in these categories first and probably will continue this pattern through most if not all of 2022. Bike shops who sell road are buying up bare frames (like the one we have in this photo) just to offer something to a customer. A complete road or gravel bike is basically a unicorn, so buying a frame and doing a component swap or custom build might be the only option.
Only time will tell how each industry copes with the supply and demand issues post-covid. For now, we all just need to stay outdoors and take in a deep breath of clean air.