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Shimano’s cycling sales hit record high despite slowing demand

The company eclipsed its most successful year by 16.6 per cent, making it back-to-back years of record sales, even with demand for cycling products gradually easing off

The world’s leading bicycle component manufacturer Shimano published its financial results for 2022 this week, declaring a record revenue of ¥517.4 million, equivalent to around £3.2 billion. This comes despite “the strong interest in cycling during the COVID-19 pandemic showed signs of cooling down”, according to Shimano, who also said strong sales of the new Shimano 105 groupset helped to boost performance in its bicycle component division. 

The Osaka-based manufacturer recorded a sales increase of 16.6 per cent on 2021, which was previously its best year in terms of shipping out bike products, attributed to the boom in cycling during the pandemic.

In the report, Shimano also declared an operating income of almost ¥145,000 million, or £900 million, which eclipses its previous income of £775 million in 2021.

However, the company’s growth was hindered significantly in comparison to 2021, when it posted a record increase of 44 per cent over 2020, along with celebrating its centenary with some snazzy promo books. Nonetheless, Shimano mentioned that the demand for bicycles remained higher than pre-pandemic levels.

> Sales and profits soar at Shimano as demand for bikes remains strong during pandemic

This has been an increasingly visible trend in the bicycle industry since late last year with the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer Giant facing falling demands and rising inventory levels, and Swedish helmet safety company MIPS suffering from a “drastic slowdown in the bike sector” — a notable slump after the incredible boom during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw retailers like Halfords and Wiggle make massive strides in their sales.

Despite some bike industry forecasts looking bleak going into 2023, Shimano's 2022 financial results should come as a good news for the industry. Another positive slant recently came from the CEO of Pon Holdings, the Dutch conglomerate that owns cycling brands such as Cervelo and Santa Cruz, who called for patience and claimed long-term trends such as increased inshoring would be "incredible for biking" in an interview with Bike Europe

Back to Shimano, the company continued in its statement: “In terms of market inventories of completed bicycles, those of high-end class bicycles remained at a low level. Meanwhile, inventory levels of middle-class bicycles rose, following those of entry-class bicycles." 

It went on to single out two products which attracted “brisk” orders in the market: the new Shimano 105 groupset for high-end road bicycles, and its sport e-bike components, STEPS (Shimano Total Electric Power System).

The strong performance of Shimano 105 may come as a surprise to some who may have thought that Shimano making its third-tier groupset electronic and disc brake-only could make it prohibitively expensive; but as we predicted at the time of the launch in June 2022, the product appears to have been a success so far. 

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - drivetrain.jpg

In Europe, the company said that “sales of bicycles and bicycle-related products remained firm, partly backed by strong interest in bicycles”, with albeit somewhat high market inventories. A similar market assessment and sales performance was seen in North America as well.

In Asia and South and Central America, interest and sales cooled off as a result of high inflation, according to the company’s report; although there was still demand for sport and e-bikes in Japan.

> REVIEW: Shimano STEPS E6100

However, Shimano, which also manufactures fishing and rowing equipment, is wary of its sales in 2023, forecasting a total sale of ¥500,000 million, with its bicycle division driving 80% of those sales.

“There is concern that global supply chains will be disrupted by supply constraints and heightened political tension caused by geopolitical risks that have emerged, such as the prolonged situation in Ukraine, and that high inflation dragging on and tight monetary policies adopted globally may put downward pressure on economy,” said the company.

Nevertheless, Shimano is ready to weather 2023 head-on. A company spokesperson said it will “strive to develop and manufacture captivating products that bring sensations to many people, and “continue to create a shared value between corporations and society”... 14-speed, anyone? 

Adwitiya joined in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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Moist von Lipwig | 1 year ago

The shimano 105 'sucess' feels like theres more layers under the surface there.  I expect the bulk of those orders are groupsets going onto new bikes, whether or not those bikes are actually selling at the new price points of '105 for ultegra money' is another thing entirely.

Jack Sexty replied to Moist von Lipwig | 1 year ago
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Your points here were raised when we discussed this, and we'll be looking to follow up with distributors and bike shops to try to find out how well new 105 is selling on the shop floor later in the year. 

JL77 | 1 year ago

"Despite some bike industry forecasts looking bleak going into 2023, Shimano's 2022 financial results should come as a good news for the industry. "

Why? Aren't the sales results just a reflection of what has been delivered? And we know that there has been over-ordering by bike-manufacturers who are now stockpiling bikes in warehouses.


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