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Bicycles - US - February 2012

This report explores the bicycle market in the U.S. It provides insight into the external and internal factors affecting bicycle unit sales at specialty retailers and ridership trends, and what they mean for future sales, marketing campaigns, and industry innovations.

Specific questions that are answered in this report include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Who in the household owns a bicycle? For what purpose do they ride most often?
  • What are federal, state and municipal governments doing to increase cycling?
  • Why do people purchase bicycles? How are social behaviors related to bicycling different by age or household income?
  • What companies dominate this market and how has consolidation shifted this paradigm?
  • What companies export the most bicycle and accessories to the U.S.? To what countries does the U.S. export the most bicycle and accessories?
  • How do consumers research bicycles when they are both considering a new purchase or just browsing?
  • What bicycle brands are owned most by which consumers?
  • How do retailers differ regarding the types of bicycle they sell, their price points and the types of consumers who visit their location?
  • How are bicycle manufacturers using community events to interact with potential buyer?
  • How do children view bicycle ownership and activity that are different from adults?
  • How much do consumers pay for bicycles? What is the average spend?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                      • The market
                        • Figure 1: Total U.S. retail sales of bicycles and accessories, at current prices, 2006-16
                        • Figure 2: Fan chart forecast of total U.S. retail sales of bicycles and accessories, 2006-16
                      • Market factors
                        • Import manufacturers, particularly from China and Taiwan, dominating market
                          • Figure 3: U.S. imports and exports of bicycles and parts by customs value, 2007-11
                        • Increasing federal, state, city spending on cycling infrastructure will help market
                          • Bike sharing part of this investment; most cities growing programs
                            • Figure 4: Number of bicycles in sharing programs in major U.S. cities, 2012
                          • As consumers drive less miles via car, more opportunities exist for bicycles
                            • Figure 5: Consumer vehicle miles traveled, all U.S. roads and streets, 1998-2011
                          • Segmentation
                            • The consumer
                              • More than half of respondent households own a bicycle
                                • Figure 6: Who in the household owns a bicycle? November 2011
                              • Average spend of bicycles highest when respondents purchase for self
                                • Figure 7: Average spend on bicycle purchase, by who the bicycle was bought for, November 2011
                              • For children 17 and younger, bicycling is a social outlet
                                • Figure 8: What bicycles are used for, by family member, November 2011
                              • When it’s time to purchase, respondents turn to bike experts, friends/family
                                • Figure 9: Sources of information on bicycles, November 2011
                              • Hispanic, black children aged 6-11, 12-17 have higher ownership rates
                                • Figure 10: Who in the household owns a bicycle? by race and Hispanic origin, November 2012
                              • What we think
                              • Insights and Opportunities

                                • Bicycle operators can launch couture fashion lines
                                  • Municipalities can sell naming rights of bike sharing kiosks, programs
                                    • Expand bicycle sharing or rentals to airports, shopping malls, theme parks
                                    • Inspire Insights

                                        • Inspire trend: Play Ethics
                                          • Inspire trend: Why Buy?
                                          • Market Size and Forecast

                                            • Key points
                                              • Total sales and forecast of U.S. bicycle market including accessories
                                                • Figure 11: Total U.S. retail sales of bicycles and accessories, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                • Figure 12: Total U.S. retail sales of bicycles and accessories, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2006-16
                                              • Total U.S. bicycle unit sales
                                                • Figure 13: Total bicycle units sold, 2003-10
                                              • Fan chart forecast
                                                  • Figure 14: Fan chart forecast of total U.S. retail sales of bicycles and accessories, 2006-16
                                              • Market Drivers

                                                • U.S. bicycle and parts industry dominated by import manufacturers
                                                  • Figure 15: U.S. imports and exports of bicycles and parts, by customs value, 2007-11
                                                • Asia controls import market into the U.S., dominated by China
                                                  • Figure 16: U.S. imports of bicycles and parts, by customs value, January-September, by country, 2010 and 2011
                                                • Taiwan, Germany, Canada receiving the largest share of U.S. bicycle, bicycle parts
                                                  • Figure 17: U.S. exports of bicycles and parts, by customs value, January-September, by country, 2010 and 2011
                                                • Federal spending on bicycle/walking projects
                                                  • Increased 249%, 2000-10…
                                                    • Figure 18: Federal spending for bicycle and pedestrian projects, 1992-2010
                                                  • …but may be in jeopardy
                                                    • Bike sharing programs spreading to major U.S. cities
                                                      • Figure 19: Name and number of bicycle sharing programs in major U.S. cities, 2012
                                                    • Growth in overall bicycle ridership
                                                      • Bicycle facilities vary significantly by major U.S. cities
                                                        • Figure 20: Miles of bicycle lanes, paths, and routes in U.S. cities, 2010
                                                      • Commuting by bicycle
                                                          • Figure 21: Percentage of commuters who bike to work, by city and gender, 2010
                                                        • Declines in vehicle use may result in more bicycle ridership
                                                          • Figure 22: Consumer vehicle miles traveled, all U.S. roads and streets, 1998-2011
                                                      • Segment Performance

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Road bicycles built for speed, appeal to serious cyclists
                                                              • Mountain bicycles
                                                                • Hybrid/cross bicycles combine mountain and road bike features
                                                                  • Comfort bicycles designed to accommodate casual riders
                                                                    • Youth bicycles tailored for kids aged 2 and older
                                                                      • Cruiser bicycles built for style, short distances
                                                                        • Recumbent, tandem bicycles represent 2% of specialty bicycle retailer sales
                                                                          • Share of specialty bicycle retailer sales, segmented by bicycle type
                                                                            • Figure 23: Share of specialty bicycle retailer sales, by bicycle type, 2005-2010
                                                                        • Retail Channels

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Unit sales of new bicycles dominated by mass merchants
                                                                                • Figure 24: U.S. unit sales of bicycles, by retail channel, 2008 and 2010
                                                                              • Average retail value for new bicycles increases for specialty retailers
                                                                                • Figure 25: Estimated average bicycle unit retail, by retail channel, 2008 and 2010
                                                                            • Retail Channels—Mass Merchants

                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                • Mass merchant retailers dominate U.S. bicycle market
                                                                                  • Figure 26: Share of bicycles sold by mass merchant * retailers, 2006-10
                                                                                • Mass merchant segment controlled by four retailers
                                                                                  • Walmart
                                                                                    • Kmart
                                                                                      • Target
                                                                                        • Toys“R”Us
                                                                                        • Retail Channels—Specialty Bike Retailers

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Bicycle unit sales at specialty bike retailers represent 14% of 2010 market
                                                                                                • Figure 27: Share of bicycles sold by specialty bike retailers, 2006-10
                                                                                              • Consolidation is shrinking landscape of these retailers
                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Number of U.S. specialty bicycle retail locations, 2000-11
                                                                                              • Retail Channels—Chain Sporting Goods Stores

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Chain sporting goods stores represent 6% of unit bicycle sales in 2010
                                                                                                      • Figure 29: Share of bicycles sold by chain sporting goods stores, 2006-10
                                                                                                  • Retail Channels—Other

                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                      • Bicycles sold at other outlets tend to be youth, novelty, or off-brand
                                                                                                        • Other outlets represented 5% of unit sales in 2010
                                                                                                          • Figure 30: Share of bicycles sold by other retail outlets, 2006-10
                                                                                                      • Leading Companies

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Four companies dominate U.S. bicycle market
                                                                                                            • Trek Bicycle Corporation
                                                                                                              • Specialized Bicycle Corporation
                                                                                                                • Giant
                                                                                                                  • Dorel Industries
                                                                                                                  • Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                                                    • Chicago custom bicycle shop doubles as coffee and pastry lounge
                                                                                                                      • New York City bicycle shop focuses on women, mothers
                                                                                                                        • Hertz targets tourists with electric bicycle rentals
                                                                                                                          • Spanish bicycle manufacturer launches line to accommodate growing kids
                                                                                                                          • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                                            • Bicycle manufacturers emphasize community events in marketing
                                                                                                                              • Factory visits generate community
                                                                                                                                • Bicycle lending at community events helps raise company profile
                                                                                                                                  • Bicycling media outlets
                                                                                                                                    • Strategy: Giant emphasizes fuel benefits of bicycles over cars
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Giant “Reality DOES suck” ad, 2011
                                                                                                                                      • Strategy: Trek launches iPhone audio/video podcasts
                                                                                                                                        • Strategy: Schwinn creates viral hits through holiday “choir”
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Schwinn Bell Choir screenshot, December 2010
                                                                                                                                          • Strategy: Encouraging Facebook interaction through sweepstakes
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Giant “Ride the Rain Contest” screenshot, February 2012
                                                                                                                                          • Strategy: Huffy’s “Moms On Bikes” campaign targets hip moms
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 34: Moms On Bikes logo, February 2012
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 35: Huffy “Moms On Bikes” campaign, Facebook ad, 2011
                                                                                                                                          • Incidence and Type of Cycling

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • One third of respondents cycled using mountain/road bicycles
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 36: Sports played or participated in the last 12 months by consumers who own a bicycle, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                                              • One third of teenagers aged 12-17 bicycle as sport
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 37: Sports played or participated in the last 12 months, by consumers aged 12-17, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                                              • Teenagers most likely to own mountain bicycles
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 38: Type of bicycle owned by consumers aged 12-17, by gender, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                                            • Bicycle Ownership

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • More than half of respondent households have a bicycle at home
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Who in the household owns a bicycle?, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                • Bicycles most likely found in 35-44 year olds’ households
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Who in the household owns a bicycle?, by age, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                • Households earning $75K+ most likely to own bikes
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Who in the household owns a bicycle?, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                              • When Was the Last Bicycle Bought/Received?

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • Children aged 6-11 most likely to receive bicycle in past year
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 42: When last bicycle was purchased or received, by who owns the bicycle, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                  • When buying for self, 25-44 year olds most likely to purchase over last year
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 43: When last bicycle was purchased or received by self, by age, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                  • When buying for another adult, those aged 55+ most likely to purchase/receive 5+ years ago
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: When last bicycle was purchased or received by another adult aged 18+, by age, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                  • Higher household income doesn’t translate to new bikes for kids
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 45: When last bicycle was purchased or received by children 6-11, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                • Spend on Bicycle Purchase

                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • Average spend on bicycles highest when buying for self
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 46: Average spend on bicycle purchase, by who the bicycle was bought for, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • 35-44 year olds most likely to spend more on bicycles for self
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 47: Average spend on bicycle purchase for self, by age, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Expensive bikes go to wealthiest households
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Average spend on bicycle purchase for self, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Children mostly own bicycles costing $100-149
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 49: Average spend on bicycle purchase for children 12-17, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Bicycle Purchasing—New Versus Used

                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                        • New bicycles still a clear favorite
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 50: Bicycle purchasing, new vs. used, by who the bicycle was bought for, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Wealthiest households most likely to purchase new bikes for adults
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: New bicycle purchasing, by who the bicycle was bought for, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Households earning the least purchasing buying used bicycles
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Used bicycle purchasing, by who the bicycle was bought for, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Source of Bicycles

                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                          • Walmart dominant choice for respondents shopping for young children
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 53: Source of bicycles, by who owns the bicycle, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Preference for specialty retailers increases with age
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 54: Source of bicycles for own use, by age, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Walmart favored by least wealthy households
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 55: Source of bicycles for own use, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Walmart dominates bicycle purchases for children
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 56: Source of bicycles for children in household, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • What Are Bicycles Used For?

                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • Children 17 and younger value bicycling as a social outlet more than adults
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 57: What bicycles are used for, by family member, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                            • Those aged 25-34 most likely to cycle in groups
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 58: Types of cyclist, by age, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                            • Self: Least wealthy households most likely to be purpose cyclists
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Types of cyclist, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                            • Children aged 12-17 from wealthiest homes most avid cyclists
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 60: Types of child (aged 12-17) cyclist, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Types of Bicycle Owned

                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                              • Mountain bicycles mostly owned by all groups except children aged 6-11
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 61: Types of bicycle owned, by who owns the bicycle, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Mountain bicycles owned primarily by those aged 25-44
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 62: Types of bicycle owned by self, by age, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • BMX owned by 12-17 year olds from least wealthy households
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 63: Types of bicycle children aged 12-17 own, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                            • Brand of Bicycles Owned

                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                • Mass merchant brands dominate ownership
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 64: Brands of bicycle owned, by who owns the bicycle, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Little direct correlation with brand ownership and income
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 65: Brands of bicycle owned by self, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Huffy ownership falls for children from higher-income households…
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 66: Brands of bicycle owned by children aged 6-11, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • ...and for teenagers also
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 67: Brands of bicycle owned by children 12-17, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Sources of Information on Bicycles

                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                  • Bike experts, friends/family consulted most when considering a purchase
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 68: Sources of information on bicycles, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Family/friends and other cyclists matter most to younger respondents buying a bicycle
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 69: Sources of information used when thinking about purchasing a bicycle, by age, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Younger respondents more likely to read blogs, watch races than older peers
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 70: General sources of information used for bicycles, by age, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Reasons for Buying a Bicycle

                                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                    • Exercise benefits a key driver
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 71: Reasons for buying a bicycle, by gender, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Commuting via bicycle primarily appeals to 18-34 year olds
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 72: Reasons for buying a bicycle, by age, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Least wealthy households most interested in commuting
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 73: Reasons for buying a bicycle, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                      • Hispanic, black children aged 6-11, 12-17 have higher ownership rates
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 74: Who in the household owns a bicycle? by race and Hispanic origin, November 2012
                                                                                                                                                                      • Buying for self
                                                                                                                                                                        • White respondents most likely to last purchase bicycle 5+ years ago
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 75: When last bicycle was purchased or received by self, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2012
                                                                                                                                                                        • Most expensive bicycles likely purchased by white respondents
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 76: Average spend on bicycle purchase, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2012
                                                                                                                                                                        • Hispanic, black respondents most likely to use bike with purpose
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 77: Types of cyclist, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2012
                                                                                                                                                                        • Hispanics more likely to be Schwinn owners
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 78: Brands of bicycle owned by self, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2012
                                                                                                                                                                        • Buying new: Asian respondents most likely to purchase for themselves
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 79: New bicycle purchasing, by who the bicycle was bought for, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2012
                                                                                                                                                                        • Hispanic respondents driven to bicycles for commuting option
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 80: Reasons for buying a bicycle, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix—Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                        Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                        • Cannondale Bicycle Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                        • Dorel Industries Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                        • Huffy Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                        • Pacific Cycle LLC
                                                                                                                                                                        • Raleigh America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                        • Schwinn Bicycle Company
                                                                                                                                                                        • Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                        • Trek Bicycle Corporation

                                                                                                                                                                        Bicycles - US - February 2012

                                                                                                                                                                        £2,684.63 (Excl.Tax)