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"Drastic slowdown" in demand sees MIPS' net sales slump 46% in final quarter of 2022

The helmet safety tech brand suffered a 50% drop in helmet sales as net sales dropped from £15.7 million to £8.5 million in the final portion of 2022 compared with 2021

MIPS, the Swedish company behind the helmet safety system seen in many big-name brands' lids, suffered a "substantial negative impact on sales" from the "drastic slowdown in the bike sector" in the second half of last year, with net sales down 46 per cent in Q4.

The figures, first reported by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News show that a 50 per cent drop in bike helmet sales in the fourth quarter of 2022 saw sales slump by £7.2 million compared with the same period in 2021.

Despite the "substantial" hit in Q4, the brand's CEO Max Strandwitz noted that for the year the company only experienced a seven per cent drop in net sales.

2023 Giro Aries Spherical Helmet - Mips.jpg

The Stockholm-based brand is behind the design that allows 10-15mm of relative motion between the helmet and the head in all directions in order to reduce rotational motion transferred to the brain in the event of an impact, protecting against brain injury.

Its distinctive yellow liners can be found in many a big-name lid, such as some from Bell, Giro, Specialized, Bontrager, Lazer, MET and Poc, but notably not Kask.

> MIPS comes out fighting in helmet safety debate

Net sales for the fourth quarter were 107 million Swedish Krona (£8.5 million), down from 198 million SEK (£15.7 million) in the final quarter of 2021.

Overall, last year, net sales were 563 million SEK (£44.5 million), down from 608 million SEK (£48.1 million) in 2021.

"The fourth quarter closes a different, challenging but also successful year," CEO Strandwitz said. "A drastic slowdown in the bike sector in the second half of the year had a substantial negative impact on sales in sport, our largest category.

2022 Cannondale Intake MIPS Adult Helmet - inside 1.jpg

"While we had to deal with the short-term challenging market for our largest category, we have taken big steps for the future through several initiatives and successes within other categories. We have also continued to strengthen our brand position, product portfolio and organisation.

Despite the hit last year, Strandwitz remains optimistic the bike industry will "start to recover" this year.

> All you need to know about MIPS

"We stand by our earlier assessment that the bike market will start to recover during spring 2023," he predicted.

"Our assessment is still that over time there will be excellent opportunities for growth and solid consumer demand in the bike category, mainly driven by our increased market penetration and the strong underlying trends regarding these types of helmets."

2022 Cannondale Intake MIPS Adult Helmet - Mips logo.jpg

In November, MIPS defended the efficacy of its helmet safety system, saying that its test methods meet the highest scientific standards and that its results are based on the most realistic head form currently available.

It said that results from two of the key head forms used in helmet safety testing both show its system to be effective in protecting against brain injury after comments from Kask sparked something of a helmet safety debate, just not quite like the one you are all no doubt bored of hearing about too.

Dan is the news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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Sredlums | 1 year ago

I'm still highly sceptical about the real world difference MIPS makes, and I have yet to see independent research that convinces me otherwise.

Seems highly overrated to me.

chrisonabike replied to Sredlums | 1 year ago

Watch out for a forthcoming article explaining how you can get most of the benefit more cheaply by wearing tin foil under your helmet to reduce friction.

hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago

chrisonatrike wrote:

Watch out for a forthcoming article explaining how you can get most of the benefit more cheaply by wearing tin foil under your helmet to reduce friction.

Will those silicone baking sheets work as well?

chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago

If you're a tough cookie, yes.

Sredlums replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago

I am not a tough cookie at all, just a regular guy.

That doesn't mean I take all marketing mumbo jumbo for truth just like that. There's reason enough not to, especially in the cycling business.

cyclisto replied to Sredlums | 1 year ago

These 10-15mm of decelaration will probably be very helpful. My helmet is not MIPS but my next will probably be if they are still not crazy priced.

Sredlums replied to cyclisto | 1 year ago

My feeling is they won't be helpfull at all, or hardly.

It seems to me the impact is not decelerated, but merely postponed.
Without MIPS, you fall, your helmet hits the ground, resistence from the ground surface grips your helmet, so the helmet stays in that position, and as a result, your head is held in that position too (causing your brain to rotate inside your skull, not good). With MIPS the same happens, except your head first has room to rotate within the helmet, but after 1,5cm rotation you run out of 'rotation margin' and than your skull will still be held in position with the helmet. That seems pretty useless to me.

Patrick9-32 replied to Sredlums | 1 year ago
1 like

The virginia tech testing which is some of the best testing there is to apply to real world situations (far better than any of the tests needed for helmets to be certified) shows Mips working really well. It seems like most of the 5 star helmets use mips or one of the competitors versions of the same thing:!

jimc101 | 1 year ago
1 like

So after a few bumper years sales have crashed, the C19 bubble has burst and will take several years (if it ever does) to recover as peope who bought bikes/ kit dump them on the 2nd hand market and go back to golf/their older pre-C19 interests, add in recession (implied or real), and people will look for lower end/cheaper things, or not replace if not needed

None of this is a suprise to anyone it seems other than the bike companies

ChuckSneed | 1 year ago

I for one buy a new helmet every year, but this year didn't buy one with mips

IanGlasgow replied to ChuckSneed | 1 year ago

I'm looking for a new helmet (mine's about 5 years old). What made you decide agaisnt MIPS?

RoubaixCube replied to IanGlasgow | 1 year ago
1 like

Price id assume. There is normally a small price premium when it comes to those helmets.

Awavey | 1 year ago

I cant help think the bike industry has very unrealistic expectations for sales, they seem to believe its just a matter of constant growth.

Lets say I had bought a MIPS helmet last year, why would I buy another one this year ?

IanGlasgow replied to Awavey | 1 year ago

This is how all industries operate - it's not enough to run a successful, profitable business. Share-holders demand growth - the business must increase turnover and profits year after year so the shares you bought are worth more and more. It's all about share values, not about sustainability.
Hence it's not enough to invent MIPS, get it into helmets and sell MIPS-equipped helmets at a profit every year. You have to expand the market. Expect MIPS-equipped bibs, MIPS-equipped jerseys, MIPS for pedestrians, etc.

EDIT: I've been thinking about MIPS-equipped bibs.
The pad doesn't move agaisnt your skin, the shorts don't move against the saddle but there's 10--15mm of movement. Would that prevent chafing?
This question is totally unrelated to me cycling home from work in normal pants instead of changing into padded shorts yesterday.

blamek replied to IanGlasgow | 1 year ago

regarding bibs - you're late, Assos already has it  1

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