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UK Cycling Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Cycling market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this Report

This Report covers all types of cycling activity, including leisure/ sport, commuting and other uses. In terms of market size and forecasts, it encompasses the UK market for bicycles, which Mintel defines as those machines with a chain and ball bearings.

The main product types included are mountain bikes, road, hybrid (and other mixed-terrain bikes), classic/city bikes, children’s bicycles and small-wheel bicycles such as BMX and folding bikes. Electric bicycles, better known as e-bikes, are not included in the market size and forecast, although reference is made elsewhere to sales levels, product innovations and consumer interest.

What you need to know

New bicycle sales show no signs of volume growth overall but expenditure is estimated to have increased by around 22% over the past five years. This is a result of rising average prices due to a mix of the weak Pound and relatively strong sales of premium bicycles. Driven by a wave of product innovation, e-bikes are beginning to take off in the UK and have significant future potential.

Cycling as an activity is showing few signs of growth in participation. It has not yet managed to break through beyond its core (male, under-45) demographics into the social mainstream. More positively there is widespread latent consumer interest in cycling in the future provided concerns around safety are addressed. There is also a clear recognition that cycling has important health and environmental benefits.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by John Worthington, a leading analyst in the Leisure sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

An uncertain macroeconomic environment is likely to affect mass-market demand among more ‘casual cyclists’. On the plus side, ‘cycling enthusiasts’ remain willing to spend on their hobby. Continual innovation in bicycle design and components, and new premium bicycles, including e-bikes, should help to sustain growth in market value. John Worthington
Senior Leisure Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • Bicycle sales values up but volumes stagnate
            • Figure 1: UK bicycles market, value forecast, 2012-22
          • Halfords cements leading position
            • Figure 2: Leading bicycle suppliers to the UK market, ranked by estimated UK bicycle sales values*, 2016
          • Regular cycling participation has dipped since 2014
            • Figure 3: Regular participation in cycling (weekly or more often), 2013-17
          • Leisure is the most popular reason for cycling
            • Figure 4: Cycling purposes, December 2017
          • Benefits to body and mind seen as main motivations
            • Figure 5: Perceived benefits of cycling, December 2017
          • Mountain bikes remain dominant segment
            • Figure 6: Bicycle ownership, December 2017
          • Three in 10 cyclists are willing to spend £500+ on a new bike
            • Figure 7: Amount cyclists are willing to spend on new bicycles, December 2017
          • Areas of opportunity include cycling holidays and personalised bikes
            • Figure 8: Interest in cycling activities and purchases, December 2017
          • What we think
          • Issues and Insights

            • Shops need to diversify and take a service-oriented approach to survive
              • The facts
                • The implications
                  • E-bikes may offer the best chance to open up cycling to a wider demographic
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                      • The Market – What You Need to Know

                        • Rising prices help to grow market value
                          • Mountain bikes remain favourite but others gaining ground
                            • E-bike sales finally taking off from a low base
                              • Consumer mood likely to remain cautious
                                • Participation and trip numbers are not rising but cyclists are riding further
                                  • CWIS could be long-term game-changer for cycling
                                    • Manchester following London’s example
                                    • Market Size and Forecast

                                      • Bicycle sales value up, but volumes stagnating as going gets tough
                                        • Figure 9: UK bicycles market, 2012-22
                                      • Forecast
                                        • Figure 10: UK bicycles market, volume forecast, 2012-22
                                        • Figure 11: UK bicycles market, value forecast, 2012-22
                                    • Segment Performance

                                      • Mountain bikes remain most popular bike
                                        • E-bikes growing fast from a low base
                                        • Market Background

                                          • UK retail sales struggle as consumers grow cautious
                                            • Weak Pound pushing up bicycle import costs
                                              • Figure 12: Spot exchange rate, Pound Sterling vs euro and US$, June 2016-January 2018
                                            • Cycling is the third-largest activity
                                              • Figure 13: Adult participation in leisure/sporting activity in England, 2016/17
                                            • Average trip numbers by bike remain flat…
                                              • Figure 14: Average number of trips, by main travel mode in England, 2006-16
                                            • …but average cycling distances have increased
                                              • Figure 15: Average cycling mileage per head of population in England, 2006-16
                                              • Figure 16: Total mileage cycled in Great Britain, 2006-16
                                            • Safety concerns remain the key barrier
                                              • Figure 17: Trends in cyclist accident casualty figures in Great Britain, 2011-16
                                            • New UK cycling strategy unveiled
                                              • London commuting segment has seen biggest cycling growth
                                                • Boardman plan aims to replicate London funding
                                                  • Chinese dumping poses a threat to rising e-bike sector
                                                  • Key Players and Products – What You Need to Know

                                                    • Halfords’ sales up for past two years
                                                      • Other suppliers report largely poor results
                                                        • Halfords increases market share and moves into premium market
                                                          • WiggleCRC continues to expand with German acquisition
                                                            • Tough times for independents
                                                              • E-bike innovation
                                                                • Cycling gets smarter
                                                                • Bicycle Suppliers

                                                                  • Halfords on course for further sales growth in 2017/18
                                                                    • Mainly negative sales picture among other suppliers
                                                                        • Figure 18: Leading bicycle suppliers to the UK market, ranked by estimated UK bicycle sales values*, 2016
                                                                    • Channels To Market

                                                                      • Halfords’ share increasing as independents feel the pinch
                                                                        • Bike bricks and cycle clicks
                                                                          • Go Outdoors invests in cycle product before JD Sports takeover
                                                                            • WiggleCRC acquires major German player
                                                                              • Other key retail players
                                                                                • IBDs in decline but service-focused stores still have a niche
                                                                                • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                  • E-bike excitement
                                                                                    • Emergence of the smart bike
                                                                                      • Virtual cycling worlds
                                                                                        • Uber for bikes
                                                                                          • The boutique bike shop
                                                                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                            • Cycling potential still not being realised
                                                                                              • Millennials and MAMILs remain core customers
                                                                                                • Leisure then commuting are most popular cycling purposes
                                                                                                  • Fitness and stress relief are key benefits
                                                                                                    • Rising rail fares offer further incentive to cycle
                                                                                                      • E-bike interest at same level as road/hybrid/classic
                                                                                                        • Four key spending groups for new bikes
                                                                                                          • Four in 10 cyclists likely to pay for a service in next 12 months
                                                                                                            • Cycling chic
                                                                                                              • Holidays on two wheels
                                                                                                                • Getting personal
                                                                                                                • Cycling Participation

                                                                                                                  • Regular cycling participation has dipped over past three years…
                                                                                                                    • Figure 19: Participation in cycling, 2013-17
                                                                                                                  • …but there is potential to double participation levels
                                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Regular participation in cycling (weekly or more often), 2013-17
                                                                                                                  • Gender gap shows no sign of closing
                                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Any participation in cycling, by gender, 2015-17
                                                                                                                  • Cyclist profiles: regulars, occasionals and potentials
                                                                                                                      • Figure 22: Gender and age profile of current cyclists, December 2017
                                                                                                                    • Cycling customer base is relatively affluent
                                                                                                                      • Safer roads could unlock cycling potential
                                                                                                                        • Figure 23: Agreement with the statement ‘I'd cycle more often/start cycling if the roads were made safer (eg more protected cycle lanes)’, December 2017
                                                                                                                    • Purposes of Cycling

                                                                                                                      • Casual leisure use is dominant reason for cycling
                                                                                                                        • Figure 24: Cycling purposes, December 2017
                                                                                                                        • Figure 25: Cycling purposes, by frequency of cycling, December 2017
                                                                                                                    • Benefits of Cycling

                                                                                                                      • Fitness and stress management seen as key benefits
                                                                                                                        • Bike to nature
                                                                                                                          • Eco-savings
                                                                                                                              • Figure 26: Perceived benefits of cycling, December 2017
                                                                                                                            • Social and family cycling
                                                                                                                              • Responsible cycling
                                                                                                                              • Bicycle Ownership

                                                                                                                                • Mountain bikes remain most popular
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Bicycle ownership, December 2017
                                                                                                                                • Intentions to Purchase

                                                                                                                                  • One in 10 cyclists considering e-bike purchase
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Intentions to purchase bicycles, December 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Intentions to purchase bicycles among regular cyclists, December 2017
                                                                                                                                  • Emergence of the e-MAMIL
                                                                                                                                    • Healthy market for bikes priced over £500
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 30: Amount cyclists are willing to spend on new bicycles, December 2017
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 31: Amount cyclists are willing to spend on new bicycles, by demographics, December 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Over-45s most likely to buy new bike parts
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Intentions to purchase cycling accessories, December 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Four in 10 cyclists expect to pay for a bike service
                                                                                                                                    • Cycling Behaviours

                                                                                                                                      • Six in 10 cyclists are self-improvers
                                                                                                                                        • Cycling fashionistas
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Cycling behaviours and preferences, December 2017
                                                                                                                                        • Only half of cyclists use the National Cycle Network
                                                                                                                                          • One in three cyclists are using rental schemes
                                                                                                                                          • Cycling Opportunities

                                                                                                                                            • Cycling holiday potential
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Interest in cycling activities and purchases, December 2017
                                                                                                                                              • More than a quarter of cyclists interested in organised group rides
                                                                                                                                                • Pimp my ride
                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                    • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 35: UK bicycles market, volume forecast, 2017-22
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 36: UK bicycles market, value forecast, 2017-22
                                                                                                                                                      • Forecast methodology