The Bicycle Retailer & Industry news has something of a contrarian piece on the impact of near-record gas prices on bike sales.
Based in part on the sales report from Budget Bicycle Center in Madison, the trade publication asserts that the high cost of fuel has not driven up sales of bikes, yet.
If there has been an impact, it could be registering in the strong sales of commuter bikes in the $1,500 to $3,000 price range.
Whether or not consumers start to buy more bikes, market research appears to be solid that a change in habits is coming.
According to the NDP group, 60% of motorists have reduced their driving because of the high gas prices.
"If the current uptick in gas price is sustained, we can expect consumers to begin implementing some key changes like reducing or consolidating shopping trips, taking more mass transit, and carpooling," says David Portalatin, industry analyst for NPD's automotive aftermarket business. "In the case of a prolonged spike above $4.00, we'd expect even more significant changes like working from home, relocating or changing jobs, or driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle."
Based on recent history in 2008 when gas reached a high of $4.16-a-gallon, NPD research shows that drivers made significant changes in driving behavior including 49% who reduced or consolidated shopping trips, 29% canceled or modified vacations, and 25% found alternate means of transportation including mass transit, carpooling, and riding a bike. These are the very changes consumers are likely implementing once again.
"It comes down to the simple economics of share of wallet," Portalatin says. "Most consumers have limitations in their budgets. If they are spending more on gas, they either need to cut down on their driving or spend less on other things. History has told us they begin by cutting down on their driving."