Cheap Chinese exercise bikes are beating US tariffs

$64 million will buy a lot of exercise bikes. That was the value of the US import market of stationary cycles in June of 2020 alone, when it reached an all-time high. After a post-New Year dip, the market started to climb soon after it became clear that Covid-19 would keep many Americans out of gyms indefinitely.

About 300,000 of those bikes — some $26 million’s worth — came from China, despite being included among the products that US president Donald Trump hit with a 15% tariff in December. But even with the tariffs, the Chinese bikes imports are soaring.

Even though the US imports a greater volume of bikes from China, more money is actually spent on bikes made in Taiwan. At an average import cost of $157 per bike, Taiwanese bikes are nearly twice the price of those from China, which come in at about $87 per bike.

Among those pricier Taiwanese bikes are those made by Peloton, which retail for $2,245 and have been back ordered for months. In November the company announced it had purchased Tonic, one of its Taiwan-based manufacturers, and on a May earnings call, Peloton financial chief Jill Woodworth said Peloton was taking a hit on its profit margins to expedite shipping.

On Tuesday, Peloton’s stock hit an all-time high, in advance of its fourth quarter earnings announcement Sept. 10.

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