You people like preorders, huh? Despite the Black Friday deal being a slightly better overall deal, the just-now-closing preorder has been the biggest sales event that I can remember. It was really big.
In terms of what sold, RCGs and GOATs sold just about equal most. Café Racers weren't too far behind, and GX24s made their strongest showing by percentage to date. Apparently the 650b thing is gaining more and more traction (pun intended? I'll never tell).
For hubs, I9 and White Industries had a squeaker, with I9 just pulling it out for the win. Aivee came back with a solid third, with DT350 taking the leather medal in fourth.
Most important stat: colors! We disregard Aivee and DT here because they only come in black, and who knows what people would have ordered if they came in colors? I9 customers chose black the most, with just over 50% of all I9-hubbed wheels going to the darkest side. Red and blue tied for second, and also tied for last. No other colors got chosen, which is funny because that hasn't been our recent history with I9 at all. Together, red and blue were just a squeak below black for volume. People went a bit further afield with WI, colors winning out radically over black. Red one, with silver, pink, purple, and blue all represented.
For drive type, it was HG (aka Shimano/SRAM) putting a caning to XD, with no Campagnolo. We've only done a very few Campy disc builds so far.
Axle wise, we live in a 12mm front and 12x142 rear world. There are a handful of QR builds and the odd 15mm front, but the world seems to have chosen a standard.
We first sold disc builds in any significant volume in 2016. It would surprise me none if we sold more disc builds in this preorder than we did in all of 2015, and I'd bet it was a significant percent of what we did in 2016 and maybe even 2017 as well. 2018 was well and truly the year our disc wheel franchise exploded.
So what next? Well, we've huddled about this thing and we came to a few quick decisions. First, the preorder works very well for us. It allows us to reach our deepest level of discount from the rim supplier without putting us at big risk of having the wrong stuff in inventory or tying up all of our cash. In the "off-season" months, we're planning to run preorders as a matter of course, alongside a more expensive "on demand" option. That all makes sense. The one thing that preorders do that stinks is they create a crush of orders at one time, which makes fulfillment tough. That's why we want to stick more to off season timing on them. We DO NOT want 50 preorder builds coming due on May 30th, oh man would that suck.
So we're going to do our planned 2019 price increase, which will be $50 on the wheels that were relevant to this preorder. Then we are going to immediately roll in to another preorder at $100 off the new price. By the time those are shipping, we will probably be just about at the beginning of when the season naturally heats up for us. We won't say that there won't be any preorder options later in the season, but they will probably be on more lenient-to-us in terms of delivery terms. Again, we just can't handle a huge pile of "same due date" orders as we get into the crazy season. You'd get pissed and we'd get overwhelmed and not be able to handle the normal stuff.
Who doesn't love puppies?
It takes a good bit of time to change the prices, so you might sneak one in before we get them changed. Please realize that though we're happy to process the order at that price, the window for making it into this preorder is closed and we always try to get wheels out ASAP, if you find that we haven't yet changed the price on the wheels you want by 8am or whenever tomorrow, the delivery can't be at the head of this preorder class. It will be after this mass of wheels gets built.
Most of the other builds we do will be going up a bit in price for 2019. We've absorbed some price increases over time, and while we're not too concerned about being below market most of the time - we charge what we need and that's pretty much that - we do need to be sure we're making this a compelling and rewarding way to spend our vocational time and effort.
Hopefully your 2019 is off to a good start.