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Bicycles - UK - March 2015

“With the increase in average spend on bikes and growing demand at the premium end of the market, there is potential for a different approach to obtaining the use of a top-end bicycle. Additionally, while industry sourcing strategies are well-established, there is an opportunity for a more agile supply chain which could respond more rapidly to patterns of demand.”
– Michael Oliver, Senior Leisure & Media Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • Car industry offers pointers to top end of market
  • Fashion industry example could help suppliers to be more flexible
  • Independent cycle trade needs to stem the erosion of its market share
  • More scope for package deals, either from manufacturers or retailers

Although the UK bicycles market is a very mature one, it is potentially on the verge of a new era of growth. Central and local government are investing in cycling infrastructure to make riding on the roads safer, and have committed to giving more prominence to cycling and walking in the transport planning process from now on. Combined with the ‘feel good’ factor which has arisen from multiple successes in major cycling events by British competitors and multifarious factors which have stimulated cycle commuting, this has led in recent years to a steady increase in the number of people cycling.

There has not always been a direct correlation between participation and sales – anecdotal evidence suggests that many people returned to cycling with existing machines, at least initially, but it seems that the improvements in the UK economy and corresponding gains in consumer confidence and household spending power have boosted demand for new bicycles in 2014.

Looking ahead, all the ingredients are in place for market growth in the coming five years, ranging from improved attitudes among consumers to paying more for a quality bicycle, to the positive economic outlook and promised investment in cycling infrastructure. The only potential ‘fly in the ointment’ could be recent exchange rate fluctuations, which are likely to lead to price increases in 2016 – just when consumers might be feeling a little better off and more disposed towards making larger purchases.

This report looks at the factors driving demand for bicycles, examines recent innovations, provides sales volumes and values for the industry, how the market segments, market shares, profiles of the leading suppliers, and assesses consumers behaviour and attitudes when it comes to a variety of different elements of cycling and purchasing bicycles.

Defining what actually constitutes a bicycle is something on which the cycle industry has difficulty agreeing, depending on the focus of each company’s business and particularly where the children’s market is concerned.

Some suppliers have a significant presence in the children’s toy cycle market and include sales of these types of machines in their figures, whereas other companies define anything with a wheel size of less than 12” as a toy and do not include them within their definition.

One way of differentiating cycles and toys is to say that a bicycle must have a chain, which therefore excludes items such as toy tricycles and Mintel has applied that to this report. In addition, foreign trade classifications make the distinction between bicycles which have ball bearings and those that do not. It is the former (those with ball bearings) that Mintel has sought to adopt.

For the purposes of this report, bicycles are defined as including the following types:

  • All-terrain bikes (ATBs) or mountain bicycles are characterised by their robust, lightweight frames (which are usually smaller than sports frames), straight handlebars and smaller, sturdier wheels with fatter tyres. Traditionally wheels have come in a 26 inch size, but in recent years a larger 29 inch wheel has grown in popularity, while a new 650B wheel (27.5 inches) has emerged which is quickly becoming the de facto standard wheel size at the expense of 26 inches. They usually have a wide range of gears to enable them to tackle all types of terrain and many feature either suspension in their front forks or dual suspension at the front and rear. A recent sub-sector of this market to emerge is fat bikes, sporting extra wide tyres. 
  • Hybrid bicycles are a cross between a sports/touring and an ATB/mountain bike. They look quite similar to a mountain bike in terms of configuration of the frame and sometimes have front suspension, but tend to have a more upright riding position and narrower tyres with less rolling resistance. 
  • Traditional/classic adult bicycles are of the traditional ‘roadster’ design with large wheels, straight or swept-back handlebars, and heavier frames and usually have comparatively sturdy tyres. Many have three-speed hub gear systems. 
  • Road bikes are full-size, usually lightweight bicycles with drop handlebars. They incorporate multiple gearing, 26” or 27” wheels and narrow tyres. Traditionally, they have featured caliper brakes, but more recently disc brakes (which first emerged in the mountain bike sector) have increasingly found their way onto road bikes. 
  • Small-wheel bicycles are mainly intended for short-distance journeys. This category includes folding bicycles such as the Brompton, which are popular with consumers who want to take their bicycle on trains or pack it neatly in a car, but also, so-called ‘shopper’ bicycles. 
  • BMX bicycles are a sub-segment within small wheel bicycles and are primarily intended for children, although they are also quite popular among young adults, who use them to perform tricks and stunts. They are of a sturdy design, colourful or eye-catching (eg all-chrome) and do not normally have gears. 
  • Children’s bicycles come in all shapes and sizes. Most have small wheels and a basic non-suspension frame, although some of the higher-end children’s ATB-style bicycles now come with this feature. More recently, several manufacturers have also sought to introduce junior road bikes – scaled down versions of popular adult models. Some children’s bicycles are termed as learner bicycles and are sold with permanent or removable stabilisers.


Electric bicycles, better known as e-bikes, are excluded from the coverage of this report although, as a competitive sector, some reference is made to sales levels and innovations for the purposes of comparison and context.

 

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definitions
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Figure 1: UK bicycles market, by value, 2009-19
              • Figure 2: UK bicycles market, by volume, 2009-19
            • Market drivers
              • Figure 3: Trends in cycling participation*, 2005/06-2013/14
            • Companies, brands and innovation
              • Figure 4: Leading bicycle suppliers to the UK market, ranked by UK cycling* turnover, 2013
            • The consumer
              • Cycling participation
                • Figure 5: Frequency of cycling, December 2014
              • Bicycle ownership
                • Figure 6: Personal and household bicycle ownership, December 2014
              • How recently main bicycle was bought
                • Figure 7: How recently main bicycle was bought, December 2014
              • New versus second-hand purchases
                • Figure 8: New versus second-hand purchases, December 2014
              • Where main bicycle was bought
                • Figure 9: Where main bicycle was bought, December 2014
              • Type of bicycle ridden
                • Figure 10: Type of bicycle ridden most often, December 2014
              • Cycling behaviours and experiences
                • Figure 11: Cycling behaviours and experiences, December 2014
              • The Cycle to Work Scheme
                • Figure 12: Use of Cycle to Work Scheme to purchase bicycles, December 2014
                • Figure 13: Awareness of the Cycle to Work Scheme, December 2014
                • Figure 14: Future interest in participating in Cycle to Work Scheme, December 2014
                • Figure 15: Attitudes towards Cycle to Work Scheme, December 2014
              • Attitudes towards buying and maintaining bicycles
                • Figure 16: Attitudes towards buying and maintaining bicycles, December 2014
              • What we think
              • Issues and Insights

                  • Car industry offers pointers to top end of market
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                        • Fashion industry example could help suppliers to be more flexible
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                              • Independent cycle trade needs to stem the erosion of its market share
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • More scope for package deals, either from manufacturers or retailers
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                        • Trend Application

                                            • Trend: Play Ethic
                                              • Trend: The Real Thing
                                                • Trend: Futures: East Meets West
                                                • Market Drivers

                                                  • Key points
                                                    • Consumer drivers
                                                      • Cycling participation continues to grow
                                                        • Figure 17: Trends in popularity of top five participation sports*, 2005/06, 2010/11, 2012/13 and 2013/14
                                                        • Figure 18: Proportion of residents who do any cycling, at least once per month: England, 2012/13
                                                      • Where people cycle is changing
                                                        • Figure 19: Where usually cycled in the last 12 months: England, 2003 and 2009-13
                                                      • Weather provides mixed assistance
                                                        • Figure 20: UK weather trends, 2009-14
                                                        • Figure 21: UK weather by region, 2014
                                                        • Figure 22: UK sunshine by month, 2014
                                                        • Figure 23: UK rainfall by month, 2009-14
                                                      • Safety still a worry
                                                        • Figure 24: Cycling casualty figures (adults and children), 2009-13
                                                      • Transport and commuting costs drive people to cycling
                                                        • Figure 25: UK average fuel prices, 2009-14
                                                      • Sportives boost road bike market
                                                        • Organisational drivers
                                                          • Further strong growth for Cycle to Work Scheme
                                                            • Figure 26: Trends in numbers of Cycle to Work Scheme certificates issued and new users, 2011-14
                                                          • British Cycling membership reaches record levels
                                                            • CTC also enjoys membership boom
                                                              • Sustrans marches on
                                                                • Bike Hub stimulates participation
                                                                  • Central and local government beginning to acknowledge role of cycling
                                                                    • TfL scheme set to lead the world and boost London participation
                                                                      • Economic drivers
                                                                        • Exchange rates
                                                                          • Figure 27: Trends in sterling/dollar exchange rates, 2009-15*
                                                                        • Incomes still much lower in real terms but signs of recovery
                                                                          • Figure 28: Trends in earnings versus prices, 2009-14
                                                                      • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Vanhawks’ smart bicycle
                                                                            • Yerka’s ‘Unstealable’ bicycle
                                                                              • Sync’s variations on a theme
                                                                                • Canyon launches Shapeshifter
                                                                                  • Falco provides personalised e-bike assistance
                                                                                    • Getting from A to B more easily
                                                                                      • Smart navigation
                                                                                        • App benefits cyclists and city planners
                                                                                          • Power to the cyclist
                                                                                          • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Market recovers slightly after difficult 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 29: UK bicycles market, 2009-19
                                                                                              • Forecast
                                                                                                • Figure 30: UK bicycles value market size forecast, 2009-19
                                                                                                • Figure 31: UK bicycles volume market size forecast, 2009-19
                                                                                            • Segment Performance

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Road bikes lead growth but mountain bikes bounce back
                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Estimated breakdown of UK bicycles market, by segment, 2013 and 2014
                                                                                                • All-terrain
                                                                                                  • Children’s
                                                                                                    • Classic/traditional/hybrids
                                                                                                      • Road bikes
                                                                                                        • Small wheel
                                                                                                          • E-bikes: On the cusp of a boom?
                                                                                                            • Factors driving the market
                                                                                                              • Market size
                                                                                                                • Leading suppliers
                                                                                                                  • The future
                                                                                                                  • Market Share

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Halfords is the market leader
                                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Leading bicycle suppliers to the UK market, ranked by UK cycling* turnover, 2013
                                                                                                                    • Companies and Products

                                                                                                                      • Industry structure
                                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Trends in overseas trade in bicycles, 2009-14
                                                                                                                      • Taiwan retains position as biggest source of imports
                                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Leading sources of imported bicycles, 2014
                                                                                                                      • Most Chinese bicycle manufacturers subject to anti-dumping measures
                                                                                                                        • European imports focus on the top end of the market
                                                                                                                          • E-bike foreign trade recovers in 2014
                                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Trends in overseas trade in e-bikes, 2012-14
                                                                                                                          • Company profiles
                                                                                                                            • Halfords Group plc
                                                                                                                              • Background
                                                                                                                                • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Key financial data for Halfords Group plc, 2009/10-2013/14
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Cycling within the Halfords sales mix, 2012/13-2013/14
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Cycling within the Halfords sales mix, half year 2013/14 vs half year 2014/15
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Halfords Group plc, cycling sales by product/service type, 2012/13-2013/14
                                                                                                                                • Product range
                                                                                                                                  • Recent activity
                                                                                                                                    • Specialized (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                      • Background
                                                                                                                                        • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 41: Key financial data for Specialized (UK) Ltd, 2009-13
                                                                                                                                        • Product range
                                                                                                                                          • Recent activity
                                                                                                                                            • Sportline (H Young Holdings plc)
                                                                                                                                              • Background
                                                                                                                                                • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                  • Product range
                                                                                                                                                    • Recent activity
                                                                                                                                                      • Trek Bicycle Corporation Ltd
                                                                                                                                                        • Background
                                                                                                                                                          • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 42: Key financial data for Trek Bicycle Corporation Ltd, 2009-13
                                                                                                                                                          • Product range
                                                                                                                                                            • Recent activity
                                                                                                                                                              • Giant UK Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                • Background
                                                                                                                                                                  • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 43: Key financial data for Giant UK Ltd, 2009-13
                                                                                                                                                                  • Product range
                                                                                                                                                                    • Recent activity
                                                                                                                                                                      • Raleigh UK Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                        • Background
                                                                                                                                                                          • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Key financial data for Raleigh UK Ltd, 2009-13
                                                                                                                                                                          • Product range
                                                                                                                                                                            • Recent activity
                                                                                                                                                                              • Cycling Sports Group (IBD Bikes UK Ltd)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Background
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Key financial data for IBD Bikes UK Ltd, 2009-13
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Product range
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Recent activity
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Avocet Sports Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Background
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 46: Key financial data for Avocet Sports Ltd, 2012-14
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Product range
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Recent activity
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Channels to Market

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Halfords continues to gain market share from specialists
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: UK bicycle sales (units), by distribution channel, 2012-14
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Evans leads specialist channel
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Online specialists continue to outperform bricks and mortar rivals
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Direct sellers play an increasing role in the market
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Supermarkets do well targeting the budget/entry level
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Adspend reaches new high in 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Trends in total advertising expenditure on bicycles, 2010-14
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Twin peaks for spend by month
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Indexed advertising expenditure on bicycles, by month, 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Halfords is the biggest spender
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 50: Advertising expenditure on bicycles, by top 20 advertisers, 2010-14
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • TV and press are the most popular media used for advertising
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 51: Advertising expenditure on bicycles, by media type, 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 52: Advertising expenditure and number of adverts for bicycles in the UK, by TV channel, 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 53: Advertising expenditure and number of adverts for bicycles in the UK, by press title, 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cycling Participation

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • More than a third of adults currently cycle
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 54: Frequency of cycling, December 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Characteristics of current riders
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Lapsed riders tend to be older and less well-off
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Young and women most likely never to have ridden
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Bicycle Ownership

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Personal ownership of bicycles at 43%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Personal and household bicycle ownership, December 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • How Recently Main Bicycle was Bought

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Just over a quarter bought a bicycle in the past year
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 56: How recently main bicycle was bought, December 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • New Versus Second-hand Purchases

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • New bicycles account for almost eight in 10 purchases
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 57: New versus second-hand purchases, December 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Where Main Bicycle was Bought

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Stores preferred but online gaining ground
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 58: Where main bicycle was bought, December 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Type of Bicycle Ridden

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mountain bikes are most popular type ridden
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Type of bicycle ridden most often, December 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Cycling Behaviours and Experiences

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Almost two in five cyclists wear a helmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 60: Cycling behaviours and experiences, December 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • No longer ‘them and us’
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Men more adventurous with maintenance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Women most likely to ride at the weekend
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • One in 10 cyclists have been knocked off
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The Cycle to Work Scheme

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • One in 10 employees claim to have used Cycle to Work Scheme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 61: Use of Cycle to Work Scheme to purchase bicycles, December 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Low levels of awareness for Cycle to Work Scheme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 62: Awareness of the Cycle to Work Scheme, December 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Interest in using Cycle to Work Scheme remains strong
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 63: Future interest in participating in Cycle to Work Scheme, December 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Confusion over how it works and employers not taking part are main issues
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 64: Attitudes towards Cycle to Work Scheme, December 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Attitudes towards Buying and Maintaining Bicycles

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Increasing recognition among buyers that you get what you pay for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 65: Attitudes towards buying and maintaining bicycles, December 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Improved infrastructure could stimulate new bicycle sales
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Fewer than a fifth would pay more for a brand
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Interest-free finance has appeal to a fifth of cyclists
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • One in six say important to have bicycles repaired/serviced by qualified mechanics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – Market Size Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 66: UK bicycles market, value forecast scenarios, 2014-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 67: UK bicycles market, volume forecast scenarios, 2014-19

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Avocet Sports Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Concept Cycling Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Dorel Industries Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • H Young Holdings PLC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Microsoft Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Raleigh UK Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Saracen Cycles Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Shimano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Trek Bicycle Corporation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bicycles - UK - March 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                US $2,648.76 (Excl.Tax)