With the profile of cycling expected to be at an all-time high with the Olympics coming and with ever increasing numbers of people taking to bicycles for commute and leisure purposes, it is no surprise that respected market research agency Mintel is predicting that UK bike sales will reach an all time high in 2012.
Mintel projects sales of bikes to reach £700m in 2012, a rise of 8% on 2011. Mintel expects the sales momentum to continue over the next five years with the bike market forecasted to increase by 23% to reach £800m by 2016.
What makes the figures all the more impressive is that the bicycle market had a difficult year in 2011 when sales fell 7% (almost £50m) from £698m in 2010 to £650m in 2011, according to Mintel’s research.
Volume sales of bicycles also declined by 15% between 2006 and 2011, in value terms, but the market saw strong growth of nearly a fifth (19%) reflecting a shift towards cycling as a leisure and lifestyle choice rather than buying a bicycle purely on price alone. That said over the past five years, the retail price paid for bikes has increased by more than 40%, according to Mintel.
Long term prospects
Michael Oliver, Senior Leisure Analyst at Mintel, commenting on the findings of his company’s research, said that although the UK market for bicycles contracted slightly in both value and volume terms in 2011, the longer-term prospects for the industry were very positive.
“An unusual combination of circumstances led to oversupply in 2011, which resulted in discounting, impacted on both turnover and profitability. With obesity rates rising among both adults and children, there is clearly a political and financial imperative to encouraging greater physical activity and cycling is a relatively inexpensive way of doing this. Role models in the Olympics means there is now an almost unrivalled opportunity to try to stimulate cycling participation but it needs some central funding and co-ordination.”
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