America's Shifting Interest in Bikes

Did you know May is National Bike Month? The League of American Bicyclists chose this month, one which signals warmer weather and a return to the outdoors for many Americans, to celebrate getting outside and on a bike.

The third week of the month is designated as National Bike to Work Week, with that Friday holding the title of National Bike to Work Day, which is meant to encourage Americans to keep the car in the garage for their commute and instead take the bike out for a spin.

As the leader in global ecommerce acceleration, we’re constantly curious about the forces that shift in consumer behavior, which helps brands know how to forecast demand for their products, inform product design, and influence marketing strategy.

So, to celebrate National Bike to Work Day, we decided to do a deep dive into the online demand for bicycles and bicycle supplies to answer:

  • When does the most online shopping for bikes and bike gear happen?
  • Which types of bikes and bike gear see the most online demand?
  • Did COVID-19 impact demand for bicycles and bicycle gear?

To find the answers, our data science team analyzed Amazon market demand for bicycles and bicycle gear over the past three years.

Key Findings for Brands:

  • Demand for bicycles and bicycle gear is highest during spring and early summer
    • Mountain and road bike demand is highest during early spring
    • Bike trainer demand is highest in January (resolutions season)
    • Demand for e-bikes surged by 106% during Amazon Prime week 2021
  • COVID-19 had a huge impact on demand for bicycles and bicycle gear
    • Demand for new bicycles of all types was up big in 2020, but returned to at or below pre-pandemic levels in 2021
    • Since the pandemic, demand for bike tires has increased year-over-year
    • Bike jersey demand spiked by 86% during the Tour de France

Let’s dig into the data.

When is Market Demand Highest?

To start out, we wanted to see when Americans are most often shopping for new bikes, helmets, tires, etc. So we examined weekly demand for bicycles and bicycle gear in 2021 and the first few months of 2022.

Demand is low to start the year, and then quickly picks up in early spring. It stays consistently high from April through June, before it starts a slow decline, hitting a low point during the winter months.

The holiday shopping season may be huge for all sorts of items, but clearly not bicycles and bicycle gear.

2022 has brought an even sharper climb from February to March, although that’s more due to January and February of 2022 being much slower than those months were in 2021.

But, do all types of bicycles and gear experience the same seasonal demand? Let’s dig a little deeper.

In 2021, mountain bikes were far and away the most popular item in our analysis. They’re so popular they drew more than twice as much demand last year as road bikes, the second most popular type of bike in the analysis.

Unsurprisingly, universally important types of bike gear are also extremely popular, with bike racks, bike pumps, helmets, and bike shorts all landing the top five most in-demand items.

E-Bikes, a popular new type of bicycle which offers a pedal-assisted electrical boost, fell behind road bikes and just ahead of tricycles.

Next, let’s compare some of these items to see if and how seasonal demand might differ between them.

When is Market Demand Highest by Type?

Let’s start by comparing changes in demand for different types of bicycles:

Springtime is significant for most of the types of bicycles in our analysis, with the major exception being bike trainers, which saw the bulk of their demand come during New Year’s Resolution season early last year.

E-bikes, meanwhile, relied heavily on Amazon Prime Day to drive the bulk of their demand last year, with demand spiking by 106% during the week of the shopping holiday.

Demand for mountain bikes peaks a few weeks earlier than their road bike counterparts, peaking in mid-March as opposed to early April.

Mountain bike demand drops below average a bit earlier in the year than road bikes, but it does see a brief resurgence around New Year.

Tricycles saw the most consistent demand throughout the year, and, unsurprisingly, was the type that saw the biggest holiday shopping bump.

Now let’s take the same view of some popular types of bike gear.

Bike pumps see the first big spike in demand, with a huge surge coming in the final weeks of February.

The rest of the gear in our analysis saw demand steadily climb in early spring, but there’s clearly a more consistent level of demand throughout the summer months for bike gear, as opposed to the bikes themselves, which definitely rely more on early spring.

Bike racks and bike shorts both experienced their biggest weeks of the year during Prime Day, while cycling jerseys clearly rode a huge wave of popularity during the Tour de France.

COVID-19 Impact on Demand for Bicycles and Bicycle Gear

It’s clear that there are significant seasonal trends when it comes to bikes and gear alike, but one thing we noticed in all of the graphs above is that spring 2022 so far has had a slower start than the same time in 2021.

That naturally led us to wonder if 2021 was a particularly big year for biking, and if that was something the pandemic might have driven.

Let’s start by examining the weekly demand once more, but this time starting in January 2020.

The earliest weeks of the pandemic fell during what we now know to be the busy season for bicycles and bicycle gear, but this is clear evidence that demand was particularly high as Americans found themselves staying at home and avoiding public places.

COVID-19 Impact Month over Month

Taking a monthly view allows us to go back even further, so here’s how each month compares starting back in 2019:

Here we see even more evidence that the pandemic brought a massive surge in demand for bicycles and bicycle gear. The first few months of 2020 saw demand at levels nearly identical to 2019, but May and June saw monthly demand increase by 28% over the same months in 2019.

Naturally, we wanted to see if different types of bicycles and bicycle gear experienced different pandemic-related changes in demand.

Bike wheels saw the biggest increase in year-over-year demand from 2019 to 2020, with bike tires also not far behind.

Hybrid bikes and mountain bikes both experienced the largest increase for a specific type of bike, while bike trainers weren’t far behind.

Just about every category saw higher annual demand in 2020 than in 2019, with only bike racks and training wheels seeing demand decrease.

For a clearer picture, let’s wrap up with a closer year-over-year view of some of these categories.

Mountain bikes and road bikes both had a huge 2020, with demand surging in the spring and remaining comparatively high throughout the entire year.

2021, meanwhile, saw demand fall behind pre-pandemic levels for road bikes, while mountain bikes enjoyed a strong spring in 2021, but saw demand return to match pre-pandemic levels.

Bike trainers, meanwhile, saw a massive early spike in demand, leaping to a 120% increase in April 2020 vs. April 2019, as millions of people looked to sort out in-home training options during the beginning of the pandemic.

Demand stayed high throughout 2020, but once again we see 2021 with demand falling at or below 2019’s levels, and 2022 has seen demand reach new lows.

This all suggests that when it came to big-ticket purchases like a new bike, people splurged during the first year of the pandemic, and so we’ve seen an increasingly lower demand for those items each following year.

Although, one big ticket item has had a strong start to 2022:

E-bikes, which didn’t get nearly as huge a bump during the early pandemic, are enjoying a relatively strong start to this year, with demand in March of 2022 outpacing that month from any of the previous years.

COVID-19 Impact on Demand for Different Types of Bicycle Gear

While most types of bicycles saw demand surge in 2020 and then dwindle each following year, that doesn’t mean that cycling is dwindling in popularity. So let’s take this same view for types of bicycle gear.

Here we see more evidence that people are still biking plenty, even though they’re not necessarily in the market for a brand new bike.

The pandemic clearly brought a surge in demand for bike tires, although it didn’t pop up until later in the summer, some months after that initial pandemic surge in demand for new bikes.

2021, meanwhile, stayed consistently ahead of pre-pandemic levels throughout the year, while so far 2022 has seen monthly demand at its highest levels of any previous year.

Bike shorts have also seen demand remain high each year since the pandemic, with demand reaching an all-time high in summer 2021.

The year-over-year view of demand for bike jerseys serves to reinforce the relationship between the Tour de France and demand for this item, as the event was postponed from its usual July date to late September in 2020, which is when we see demand peak that year.

Not all types of gear have enjoyed year-over-year growth, however. Bike helmets, which aren’t as much of a frequent replacement item as tires, have seen trends match closer to the demand for bikes themselves.

A Lesson for Brands

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.

Our data shows bicycles and gear surges in popularity as the weather gets nicer, but different types of bikes and bike gear hit their high points at different times of the year.

There’s also very clear evidence that people invested in new bicycles during the first months and year of the pandemic, which has seen fewer and fewer people in the market for an expensive new bike. However, many of those people are still out riding their new bikes, which means more people are in the market for new tires, a new helmet, or other types of cycling gear.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, schedule a demo today.

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Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters]( Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News]( Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail]( DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail]( The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](
Sept 26, 2022

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads

Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.

1. Go Early

In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.

From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.

2. Get Ready for Privacy Changes

 According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.

From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.

It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.

3. Ensure Consumers Can Discover your Brand

A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.

Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.

The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)

4. Get Moving with Performance Max

Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.

Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.

5. Flight Budgets Accordingly

Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.

Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.

Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Marketplace Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.