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There are many ways to measure how many cars, trucks, and SUVs are sold annually. One way to measure those new car sales includes how many oversized bows dealerships buy for decorations. Some bow salespeople report that sales have plummeted this year, indicating fewer people are buying new cars or sport utility vehicles with bows on top.

New car sales are down from 17 million to 13.7 million in the last few years

Cox Automotive, the parent company of Kelley Blue Book, estimates that Americans are buying fewer vehicles. The company that sells those oversized bows and ribbons, King Size Bows, agrees with that estimation. Fewer cars moving off the lots mean fewer bows to adorn the hood or roof. Joe Pinsker from the Wall Street Journal said, “makers and sellers of car bows, the oversize decorations that sit on hoods and roofs, report a steep decline in business this holiday season.”

King Size Bows says that sales are down 35% this season alone. The Car Bow Store in Pennsylvania also reports a drop in sales but didn’t place an exact number on it. Cox Automotive noted that American drivers would buy more than 13 million cars this year, down from 15 million last year. That number was 17 million before the pandemic.

Complications from the pandemic increased demand and slowed supply, especially regarding semiconductor chip shortages. Things are slowly inching back to normal, but many people are still avoiding buying a car, if at all possible, until prices come down more.

Not all new car sales require a bow, but many will get one

One bow company, Golden Openings in Iowa, says sales for car ribbons are up 40% this year alone. Golden Openings owner, Kimberly Baeth, says that sometimes adding a bow can make the sale sweeter. Putting a bow on every car that sells is a good way to get more people to share a photo or acknowledge the sale of the vehicle on social media.

Tom Maoli owns a Lexus dealership in New Jersey and says that around 15% of sales during the holiday season are gifts. Most of the time, buyers have had some sort of conversation about buying a car previously. A bow just adds to the fun of a new car sale.

Buyers are looking for reliability now more than ever, which means keeping a car longer instead of buying a new vehicle every few years. Some SUVs have a potential lifespan of 200,000 miles or more and buyers seem more interested than ever in reaching those milestones. These types of buyers probably won’t be buying many large bows.

You don’t have to buy a car to get a bow!

New car sales are down and so are sales for car bows
Bows on the hoods of recently sold vehicles | Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Reasons to Hold off on Buying the Kia Telluride or Any of These Kia SUVs Right Now

If you want to buy a bow from King Size Bows for your new car, prices range from $39.99 for a 20-inch seven-loop bow all the way up to $149.99 for “The King of Big Rew Bows.” The Queen of Big Red Bows is only $79.99, though. Don’t forget to add a suction cup for easy attaching. King Size Bows says you can use these bows for “cars, homes, jets, displays, and ribbon cuttings to make any occasion memorable.”

More reliable cars means fewer new car sales, but hopefully, people will need more big red bows for next year. And hopefully, people get permission before gifting someone a new car, but if not, the bow makes up for it. Otherwise, here are some gift ideas that don’t involve insurance and taxes.