Bicycles - UK - June 2010
- In 2009, the value of the bicycle market grew by more than 4%, despite a 10% fall in the number of bicycles sold. With nearly all bicycles sold in the UK being imported, the weakness of the pound led to a sharp rise in prices.
- A shortage of stock last year led to some companies bringing forward 2010 models to fill the void. Retailers had underestimated demand, particularly in low to mid-range road bikes in the £300-600 band.
- Sales of bicycles are being stimulated by Cycle to Work schemes, offering significant discounts on bicycles bought through employers, and a wider range of retail finance, particularly interest-free deals. These schemes are also encouraging buyers to trade up to more expensive models.
- The e-bikes (electric bicycles) sector is generating considerable excitement in the industry, with sales growing rapidly from a tiny base. These products are seen as a ‘half-way house’ between bicycles and mopeds/scooters. Longer term, e-bikes could play a role in introducing many more people, particularly women, to cycling.
- Bicycle retailing is becoming increasingly competitive, with the likes of Halfords competing with specialists (such as Evans, independents and online-only operations like Wiggle and Chain Reaction). Of greater concern to the trade are the major grocery retailers, such as Tesco and Asda. The grocery retailers are showing an interest in growing their share of the bicycle market, having already trialled some lines at extremely low prices.
- Cyclists can be divided fairly evenly into the one in eight adults who ride regularly (once a week or more often) and the similar proportion who ride occasionally (less often than once a week). Non-cyclists are most likely to be deterred by the perception that it is too dangerous to ride a bicycle on the road.
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