I created the idea of three “ages” concept for the post-WWII specialty retailer bicycle channel back in January. You can read more about it here, but here’s the CliffsNotes version:
- Bike 1.0, roughly 1950 — 1975, when the specialty retail market was dominated by a single brand, Schwinn, creating an era of relative stability at both the supplier and retailer levels.
- Bike 2.0, extending from the bike boom and introduction of the mountain bike through the late 1990s/early 2000s. In hindsight, I would more narrowly define the start of this period with Schwinn’s Supreme Court loss in its decade-long antitrust battle and the rise of the current selective distribution model, especially as characterized by the now-ubiquitous Authorized Dealer Agreement. Most importantly, this period was governed by the phenomenon of Perfect Competition, where no particular brand or brands accrued enough share or competitive advantage to gain control of the market.
- Bike 3.0, starting near the turn of the current millennium. The present era features a few dominant players in both the supplier and (per geographic location or region) retailer segments of the market. The theory also predicts a declining number of traditional retailers, contraction and consolidation of the supplier segment, …read more