2009 could easily be a bigger year for trade, according to feedback from a selection of bicycle businesses.
Many admitted that in terms of achievements, it will be hard to top highlights such as Sustrans’ lottery scoop, British Cycling’s Olympic gold rush and Chris Hoy scooping Sports Personality of the Year.
But Cedric Chicken was confident that the bicycle trade could once again “skim over the forthcoming recession”.
He said: “Although fantastic in terms of trade, we had a lot to overcome this year following the fire which nearly took the business from us. So 2008 was in some ways a new beginning for us. We lost Mavic, but in some ways that has helped us review business and broaden our offering, in turn attracting custom.
"On the back of last year I’m very happy to be going into 2009 with Chris Hoy posed on the front of a fantastic new catalogue. Despite tough economic times, I’d not say trade will be difficult. Previously, the bicycle business has skimmed right over recessions, especially those who have planned ahead and managed their money well.”
Clive Gosling, founder of Bikelab couldn’t be happier with what’s on the cards going forward. He said: “Since announcing working with Titus in October, business has been great. The market for titanium bikes has really opened up, that’s even despite any downturn we’re supposed to be experiencing. We’re receiving lots of pre-orders and are currently sorting back orders, something we’ll turn around early in 2009. The premium quality sector seems very fruitful at present.
"People will still spend money in tough times, they will just take a harder look at purchases, no doubt meaning the car will lose out to the bike for those who could do most journeys on two wheels.”
Although cautious of over stocking and currency twists and turns, for the most part the trade is quietly confident that 2009 could hold growth. Neil Wilkinson, director at PureRacing: “Next year is going to be a bit tougher, and it will probably be more expensive, I’d estimate by as much as 25 per cent.
"But having said that, I expect that we’ll have a good year. In particular I think both the value and expensive ends of the market will do well. They’ve not slowed down so far and I think they are the growth areas for 2009 – and that’s great for us as we cover both ends of the market.”