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24/12/2010 // INFO Leave a comment

Cycle industry in the state of a wheel revolution



With the year almost at an end it’s a good time to reflect on the strength of Britain’s bicycle industry as we approach 2011.

The UK market is now worth over £2.15bn, which means on average UK residents spend £35 each on cycling gear every year. Market research specialists Allegra Strategies, which has been looking at the UK market, estimates that by 2015 the value of the sector could exceed £3bn. According to Allegra, some 4m bikes will have been sold in the UK in 2010, which it says is a huge increase over previous years.

The retail sector shows the strength of the market with leading branded retailers, Evans and Cycle Surgery, increasing their outlet numbers across the UK by almost 20% in the last year as retail sales growth rose 15%.

Evans is the fastest growing High Street retailer, exceeding 80% sales growth in 2010 but it still has someway to go to challenge Halfords, which has 14% share of the retail market. E-tailer Chain Reaction has seen 90% growth in the last year showing that the market may go to online as consumers look for cheaper prices, particularly for parts and clothing.

So what is behind the rise in cycle spend?

An important development is the rise in number of those new-to-cycling, many of whom are women, and the increasing number of cycling ‘enthusiasts’ who are prepared to spend unprecedented amounts. An example of this ‘enthusiasts’ spend is the fact that 6% of adult bikes purchased in the UK in the last 12 months cost over £1,000, according to Allegra.

There are a number of factors at work that are attracting new people to cycling. These range from economic to health and the environment. This combined with support by central and local government has helped increase take up and encouraged new cycling consumers.

For instance, Allegra estimates from its research that more than 50% of people joining Cycle to Work schemes in the last year hadn’t previously got on a bike in their adult years. Government and business have pushed the scheme to the stage where consumers see the economic benefits.

Safety is still the main barrier to cycling, especially among women, followed by the cost of cycling. Allegra said government investment would be key to overcoming safety and infrastructure issues that would in turn encourage more people to cycle.

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