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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Improve Your Amazon Advertising Strategy With One Simple Metric: True RoAS
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Improve Your Amazon Advertising Strategy With One Simple Metric: True RoAS

The purpose of advertising on Amazon is simple: increase traffic and conversions. But the approach to get those conversions is not always so simple. Your Amazon advertising strategy is based on current ad data and performance results such as your return on ad spend (RoAS). 

At a minimum, your RoAS number tells you how well you’re maximizing your ad spend. The problem is the RoAS you’re getting from Amazon or an advertising agency isn’t always accurate. 

As a top 3P seller on Amazon, Pattern helps brands improve their Amazon advertising strategy and results by providing them with one simple metric: true RoAS.

Understanding True RoAS

To understand why true RoAS is helpful to brands, you need to understand how Amazon and other agencies calculate and present your RoAS.

The key to growing your brand and maximizing your ad spend is to drive incremental traffic, rather than cannibalizing what has already taken place. For example, if you are selling probiotics, and paying for sponsored ads to win the keyword “probiotics for women”, but also organically ranked in the top results with the same keyword, that’s cannibalization. The RoAS score you would receive from Amazon includes that level of cannibalism, which inflates the number, causing you to pay more on ad spend. The best ads drive incremental growth instead of cannibalizing organic sales. 

At Pattern, we’ve created the acceleration software to make sure brands are getting their “true RoAS”. Pattern’s patented tool applies artificial intelligence to advertising to maximize incremental growth or true return on investment. 

Our software helps brands optimize their efforts by providing live and updated information on where your brand is not organically ranking, and what you should be paying for. If your ranking improves in one area, the ad spend will automatically decrease for those words or phrases until the software detects a drop in ranking, signaling that your ad spend should go up again. This dynamic monitoring of ad spend will help you maximize incremental growth and improve your RoAS.

Improve Your Amazon Ad Strategy with Pattern

Knowing your true RoAS is key to improving your Amazon performance. Advertising agencies and marketplace account managers often give you an inaccurate RoAS ratio or value, which only incentivizes you to spend more on advertising, ultimately increasing revenue for the agencies and/or marketplaces.

At Pattern, a 3P partner on Amazon and other marketplaces, we view our brands just as that: a partnership. When you win, we win. You succeed on Amazon by maximizing your ad spend and we have the data and resources to help you do just that. Accurate, transparent data and reporting will help improve your advertising strategy to drive more traffic to and conversions on your products. 

Ready to finally get your true RoAS? Contact us.   

Slowing Inflation is Music to Consumers’ Ears
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Slowing Inflation is Music to Consumers’ Ears

**Instrument Pricing Changes Tune Amid Record Inflation** Compared to 2022, consumers should expect to pay more for musical instruments, but the rate of inflation shows signs of slowing. **The backstory:** America’s most popular musical instruments saw a notable price increase in 2022 compared to 2021, but the rate of inflation eased in Q4 ’22. **Why it matters:** Slowing inflation within this product category could indicate economic pressures like increased demand, rising labor costs, and supply chain disruptions are easing across the consumer landscape. **What we’re seeing:** The average cost of musical instruments increased 7.5% from 2021 – 2022; however, when analyzing individual increases year over year, some instruments saw price increases as high as 21%. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Instruments — 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-02Lwk" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/02Lwk/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="379" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * Trombones experienced a 21.73% increase compared to 2021 * Trumpets +20.08% * Flutes +18.6% * Recorders +16.13% * Saxophones +13.63% * Clarinets +10.55% * Drums +5.41% * Ukuleles +5.17% **However:** Inflation among these same instruments was significantly less in Q4 ’22 compared to Q4 ’21. In some cases, prices decreased from Q4 ’21 – Q4 ‘22: <iframe title="Price Change for Instruments — Q4 2022 vs. Q4 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-6X6GZ" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/6X6GZ/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="379" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * Trombones +11.23% * Flutes +10.41% * Saxophones +5.94% * Clarinets +5.59% * Trumpets +3.10% * Recorders +2.85% * Drums -2.59% * Ukuleles -8.46% **Moreover:** Certain instruments saw inflation reverse in 2022. On average, prices for melodicas, guitars, and violas saw their prices decrease by 4.41%, 3.19%, and 0.97%, respectively. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Instruments — 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-0Tefk" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/0Tefk/3/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="259" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **Diving Deeper:** Inflation was more significant when comparing Q4 ’21 to Q4 ’20 than when comparing Q4 ’22 to Q4 ’21, indicating a slowing down of price increases for consumers. <iframe title="YOY Q4 Price Change for Instruments — 2020 – 2022" aria-label="Stacked Bars" id="datawrapper-chart-p6iqt" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/p6iqt/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="206" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * In Q4 ’21, average prices for all instruments were up 8.89% compared to Q4 ’20. * When comparing Q4 ’22 to Q4 ’21, the average price for all instruments only increased by 2.65%. **The takeaway:** While consumers should expect to pay higher prices for instruments this year, overall inflation impact within this product category appears to be slowing down. With National Ukulele Day coming up on February 2, now is a great time for ecommerce brands to take advantage of slowing economic worries and reach new consumers. * Want Pattern’s data science team to power your brand with consumer insights like these? Contact us to [request more information](https://pattern.com/contact-us/) today.

Slowing Inflation? What Musical Instrument Pricing Tells Us
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Slowing Inflation? What Musical Instrument Pricing Tells Us

It’s safe to say consumers and brands alike are eager for a change to the pattern of rising inflation, steadily increasing in many ecommerce categories . Pattern’s internal team’s data scientists analysis of instrument pricing shows a glimmer of hope that inflation may be slowing, which would be great news for brands selling online.

At Pattern, we’re interested in and monitoring trends and news related to pricing since price is a key factor in a brand’s profitability (as explained in the Ecommerce Equation). When brands are able to optimize their price, conversions, and traffic, they can optimize their profitability. And profitability leads to better allocation of resources, better brand control, and gives leaders the ability to expand their presence to new markets worldwide.

YoY Instrument Pricing Increased at a Slower Pace

When analyzing the pricing changes of instruments from 2021 to 2022, our teams found that prices increased, but at a slower rate than from 2020 to 2021.

As shown below, the year over year Q4 changes show quite a lower rate of increase.

Inflation Improvements Raise Profitability

Because inflation impacts online shopping behaviors, lower inflation can lead to better overall profitability for brands. This idea, of course, is nuanced, but Pattern’s Ecommerce Equation can help illustrate the general principle.

When inflation rises, consumers change their spending habits. Shoppers spend more time researching products, forego premium, higher-priced brands, and buy more in bulk. Brands tend to see a loss of loyalty as they’re forced to raise prices.

Price is a key variable in the Ecommerce Equation: price x conversion x traffic = profitability. As inflation lowers, brands can expect better performance in all of these areas—more traffic as spending habits return to normal, higher conversion from returning customers, and price that better fits consumer demand. As inflation lowers and these variables stabilize, brands will see profitability increase.

Raise Your Profitability with Pattern

As an ecommerce accelerator, Pattern is obsessed with gathering data that helps our brand partners succeed. We’ve created best-in-class technology, models, and analytics to understand changes on the horizon and inform our decisions. With an incredible team of data obsessed Pattern employees, we see what makes the difference in truly great ecommerce performance and apply those learnings for brand partners. 

Ready to improve your profitability? Contact us here.