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:
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:
Let’s dig into the data.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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Walmart.com has announced important changes regarding the “Was Price” and promotions on the digital marketplace. These updates make it more important than ever to optimize your price through implementing proper strategies, controlling your distribution channels, and being intentional about your pricing strategy.
And, as with all digital marketplaces, succeeding on Walmart.com requires performing well in all areas of The Ecommerce Equation. Which means as you optimize your listings’ pricing, as well as traffic, conversions, and availability, your revenue increases.
Pattern has the resources ecommerce brands need to optimize on marketplaces for each factor in the ecommerce equation. We have the technology and strategists to help you improve your traffic, the brand dedication and passion to help you achieve greater conversions, connections to econtrol specialists who help brands regain marketplace control, and the data you need to be able to make smart forecasting decisions for better product availability.
Below, we’ll cover how Walmart.com’s recent platform changes impact ecommerce brands’ ability to drive traffic and conversions for their products and how to strategize around them to work best in your brand’s favor. But first, let’s go over the changes themselves.
Walmart.com’s newest changes reflect their mission to be the leader in low, everyday pricing. Therefore, Walmart’s customers come to the platform and expect low prices no matter what. Overall, these updates give consumers more visibility into the value they’re experiencing and hold brands more accountable in the pricing information they display.
Due to Walmart’s updates, in order for your products to qualify for a strikethrough and show “Reduced Price” or “Clearance” flags on Walmart.com, your product’s promotion must be at least 10% off the “Was Price.” (Note: “Reduced Price” is the most common type of badging. Your teams can request this badge when filling out promotion upload files.)
To specifically qualify for “Clearance,” the product needs to be discontinued and no longer replenished after selling through the remaining inventory.
Although “Rollback” is sometimes seen on site, it is a form of 1P-only badging.
Walmart now prohibits promotions lasting longer than 365 days.
Walmart’s “Was Price” was previously loosely defined and manually inputted on Walmart.com as an MSRP. Now, stricter rules are in place with regulations in the broader market to encourage enforcement and protect consumers.
The “Was Price” is now defined by these terms on Walmart:
Either the 90-day median price paid by customers for the item on Walmart.com (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance);
Or the median price offered by Walmart or Marketplace sellers for the item on Walmart.com for at least 28 out of the last 90 days (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance).
To protect your “Was Price” from price erosion, be intentional when planning promotions. To be most effective in your promotion, you’ll want to be able to give your customers a large enough discount to qualify for the slash-through and reduced price badging.
Without the right pricing strategy in place, your products are in danger of falling into deeper and deeper discounting as you chase the ability to achieve slash-throughs and proper badging. Without the slash-throughs and badging, you’ll lose the ability to easily communicate the increased value of your product and the traffic and conversions you’re trying to earn by running the promotion in the first place.
It’s important to keep your products’ prices as steady as possible to protect your promotion periods. As you prevent high-low price fluctuations, you’ll be able to use slash-through prices and promotional badges like “Reduced Price” and “Clearance” to your advantage in driving better traffic and conversions for your listings.
Without the ability to display badging, a promotion falls flat even if the price has been dropped. With steady pricing over time, you’ll be able to keep a stable “Was Price” and ultimately enjoy more rewarding promotional periods long-term.
It’s important to remember that the “Was Price” policy also applies to 1P and other 3P sellers representing your products on Walmart.com. Unfortunately, your other strategies will be ineffective if other sellers are breaking your MAP policy or playing the high-low price game. So, it’s more important than ever for brands to be conscious of their distribution channels and keep rogue and unauthorized sellers in check.
By allowing Pattern to be the authorized seller of your brand’s products and working with Vorys eControl law firm to eliminate rogue sellers, you can be confident in creating and executing a powerful selling strategy on Walmart.com and other digital marketplaces. As a 3P seller partner, Pattern is truly invested in our partners’ success, we’ll help you to create and execute a strategy that truly prioritizes the long-term performance of your products on digital marketplaces.
Contact us today to learn more about the changes on Walmart.com and how you can optimize your performance.
Pattern’s Accelerate22 event, the global ecommerce acceleration summit, provided a way for participants to learn from each other and leading experts about building a successful ecommerce presence. During our Brand Control and Compliance track, Leslie Hensell, co-founder of Riverbend Consulting and an Amazon expert, spoke to attendees about “Bezophobia”—the fear of losing brand control on Amazon. She talked about the importance of having a clear strategy to help you perform your best on the digital marketplace and the fact that achieving that is much harder to do in a 1P Amazon relationship.
With better control, which is more achievable in a 3P relationship, brands can let go of their fears and more richly enjoy the inherent benefits of selling on Amazon. If you think you could have a case of Bezophobia, read below for three important areas every brand should have control over when selling on Amazon.
Pricing is a huge concern for brands selling on Amazon—in most cases, Amazon prioritizes their customers’ happiness and providing a great experience for them on the platform over brands’ best interests. So, they want to offer their customers the best price available at all times.
This seems harmless enough until a rogue or unauthorized seller enters the ecommerce space. They’d like to capture your consumers’ interest as well, and often list your products at a lower price than you’d authorize. When Amazon notices the change, whether on its platform or on another, they drop your listing price to match.
Many brands seriously struggle to raise their prices after events like this occur, leading to what we call the Profitability Death Spiral. As your product prices fall, it’ll be harder and harder to raise them again, especially if you’re operating with Amazon as a 1P seller.
At Pattern, we know brands can’t achieve marketplace acceleration without brand control. So, we partner with econtrol firm VORYs to allow all brand partners to better understand their distribution channels and how to address control problems that ultimately lead to pricing issues.
The next key area of control brands should be focused on is their product selection on Amazon. Leslie spoke about this being a common issue for brands—as mentioned above, Amazon doesn’t see your brand as its top priority.
Many brands provide a certain assortment of their products to Amazon to sell, then find that their expectations don’t match Amazon’s efforts. Leslie has worked with many brands that have believed that Amazon will list, market, and move product the way a brand would if they were managing their Amazon presence themselves.
But, in a 1P relationship, it’s difficult to get true visibility into what’s really going on. If Amazon buys your products without putting the effort in to represent your product selection in the way you think, it can cause big, long-term issues that are very difficult for brands to reconcile.
In Leslie’s experience, this is a brand’s most important area to have control over on Amazon. Your ability to sell products is completely dependent on how you’re able to showcase those products through your content. And, in a 1P relationship, brands lose the ability to have the final say over how their products appear to consumers.
Leslie has seen many cases of brands’ sales dropping inexplicably, only for them to discover that their vendor has made significant changes to product detail pages and other marketing materials, such that they no longer reflect the brand.
Pattern understands how important your brand representation is on digital marketplaces like Amazon. So, when we agree to partner with brands, we provide a suite of creative services to help your products look their best, including a studio team for fully-optimized pictures and videos and an expert advertising team that knows how to write descriptions and copy that really help your products stand out among the competition.
If you’re able to get ahead and get in control of your Amazon strategy, especially in your pricing, selection, and marketing efforts, you have no need to fear the digital marketplace. As an Amazon expert and ecommerce accelerator, Pattern knows what it takes for brands to truly succeed, and is committed to helping all brands take charge of their strategy to achieve long-term success.
Set up a call to talk more about Amazon and ways Pattern can help you make the platform work better for you.