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Article: Helmet Prices Stabilize in 1995

Summary: This 1995 BRAIN article reported that helmet prices were stabilizing in 1995, ascribing a large part of recent price drops to Headstrong.

An Article from
Bicycle Retailer and Industry News
September 1, 1995

Retail Prices for Helmets Stabilize In the IBD Market
More Features, Same Price Point -- That's the Trend

by Steve Frothingham

EAST BRUNSWICK, NY -- As helmet prices in the mass market tumbled over the last two years, suppliers pointed to one company driving the trend-- Headstrong Group, formerly known as Renaissance Marketing.

While other suppliers hustled to meet Headstrong's low prices, the company kept staying one step ahead of the price curve.

Now, for Headstrong's competitors, there is some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that the company's chief executive officer, Dale Friedman, has declared that the mass merchant price plunge is over.

"It's clear that in the mass market retail prices have bottomed out. Retailers perceive no difference between $7 and $10 at wholesale prices," Friedman said.

But Friedman's other news could send a chill down the neck of some suppliers.

"For the second half of 1995 and for 1996, our focus is on growth in the specialty side of the business. We believe a typical retailer should have a helmet at $12.95. They can compete with a mass merchant who sells the same helmet for $9.95 because consumers would rather buy from a specialty store," he said.

Besides offering helmets at $12.95, Headstrong is delivering two new licensed brands, the Ironman and BodyGlove. Those products are being sold only to specialty retailers, he said.

The company's specialty market helmets will sell for more than $12, but not much more. For example, one combo pack includes Headstrong's new sports glasses and a helmet for $34.95.

Other specialty retail suppliers are holding the line on retail prices this year, after watching price points slip for the last two seasons.

Suppliers like Bell, Giro, Troxel and Specialized are reluctant to offer helmets with suggested retail prices much under $30.

"We don't think there's a need for us to make a $25 helmet and its not good for retailers to sell a $25 helmet. There's still a consumer out there who will pay a lot of money for a technical product," said Greg Shapleigh at Giro.

While maintaining the same price points as last year, most companies are offering better products. Even Giro is joining in, Shapleigh admits.

"Our Roc Loc system used to be just a high-end feature, but now it's on all our adult helmets," he said.

Suppliers are adding visors, back-of-the-head retention systems, better packaging and more venting on lower and lower priced models.

The newest trend is for matte-finished helmets. Giro, Bell, Troxel, Specialized and others are offering versions of the new, yet much duller colors.

Photo Captions:
Specialized's Mountain Man has a new BrainLock retention system.
Avenir's 1996 Corsair DX.
Bell's Psycho Pro has a Full Nelson fitting system and a SandBlast finish.

Copyright 1995 by Miller Freeman, Inc, Santa Fe, New Mexico. All rights reserved.

This page was revised or reformatted on: February 24, 2019.
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