Shops seem to be struggling, sales are down across the board, and distributors are selling direct to consumer for under wholesale. What gives? As someone who has been in this industry for quite some time, I think I have a little insight, as I saw this coming and tried to warn some people.
Obviously we have seen the Fortnite takeover. A lot of young riders have proven they don't care much about scootering, but care more about the fads that come and go. It isn't a big deal, this is expected. So it goes without saying that we've lost a lot of sales/riders to this epidemic.
But let's look at the bigger picture. Yes, we are seeing a heavy decrease in younger riders coming into scootering, which means the big brands with less expensive scooters, and little to no marketing, aren't doing so hot. On the other hand, there is a slow but steady increase happening that may be a little bit more disguised...
At the end of the day, scootering is more than just a toy or a fad. We have developed a culture over the last 20 years and that culture isn't going anywhere. In fact, the culture is still consistently growing. But what drives this culture? A lot of it has not to do with what you are doing, but HOW you are doing it.
Check out Aztek's Mike Hohmann and Logan Fuller in could possibly be 2018's Video of the Year. (Not my thumbnail of choice...)
Style has become such a integral part of scootering. A lot of kids talk about street riding versus park riding, but if you look at riders like Logan Fuller (hands down one of the greatest rail slayers of our day) or Justin Lacosse, these guys show such a level of control and finesse in bowls and parks.
But what about the brands? What brands are succeeding and why? Well, much like the riders, a brands style really matters. How are they marketing? What riders are they supporting? How are they going to last a long time? Longevity is something I speak about a lot.
Now that the core of scootering is growing beyond the outer "crust" there is a vast majority of riders that care more about what a brand represents, rather than who represents a brand. Nowadays, we are looking more at whether or not a brand really cares about scootering. If they don't, then they won't get much support within the community. Our community talks and listens to each other. If you want to win the hearts of the scooter community, you better show you care. And scooter riders aren't stupid, they/we will know if you are genuine or not.
More and more rider owned brands are coming out of the woodwork. The strong will survive this deficit. In scootering, you are with us or against us. If you take our money, you better do something good with it, or we aren't coming back to you. That, folks, is exactly what is happening. Trusted brands are surviving. And after said "dark ages" end, the trusted brands will THRIVE! Again I ask, are you with us or against us?