Retail Survey 2015: MTB resurgence and e-bike rise reported

Cargo bikes and women's road bikes all singled out by our survey takers
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This is the second part of our 2015 Retail Survey (find the first part here).

Which sectors have been most popular and seen a rise in sales and demand?

Yes that’s right, road was (virtually) an even split with MTB, adding further weight to a claim of an off-road resurgence. Gravel bikes, cargo bikes (“we have already repaired more cargo bikes this year than we have in all previous years combined”) and women’s road were all singled out by the survey respondents, but it’s worth noting we had a barrage of comments echoing the following sentiments: “All sectors have seen a fall in unit sales.” E-bikes were also noted as growing by a big proportion – almost a quarter.

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One reader said: “It’s time for e-bikes to stop talking and get growing, the industry really needs another curve now the MAMILs have dropped off the peloton.”

Have you found competition for business has increased this year?

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It comes as little surprise that the majority of retailers said there was more competition for business, with a paltry four per cent believing there were less retailers vying for customer cash. One telling commentator said: “Our town has gone from five bike stores to 16 in the last five years!”

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One reader summed up what we’ve heard time and again over the past months: “Corporate cash and a perception our market is growing exponentially has meant more supply with seemingly less demand. It’s been tough this year.”

The IBD struggle to match online prices featured prominently here (“Everyone can get parts cheaper, less than cost, than an IBD off the internet.”) But to end on a happy note, one comment read: “Not really any competitors in central London, there is an abundance of customers and shops here regularly direct people to each other.”

What portion of your business do cycle to work sales represent?

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2015’s figures are so similar to 2014’s that we had to check them twice. But yes, this time last year 54 per cent of retailers said C2W represented between one per cent and 15 per cent of sales while this year...54 per cent said the same. Comments ranged from those frustrated with the loss of margin, to those saying C2W was “much reduced from previous years. Local employers have moved from Cyclescheme and we don’t deal with Halfords vouchers as a matter of principle.”

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Others were more succinct: “The Government fucked it.”

Perhaps most disturbing of all for the long-term, one retailer said cycle to work represented “nearly all sales. Customers who have bought in the past take advantage of the schemes. There’s not many new fresh cyclists.”

This is the second part of our 2016 Retail Survey (find the first part here).

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