During November, BikeBiz gathered the thoughts of 95 independent bicycle retailers in the UK on a variety of topics. Here are just some of the resutls, as well as Cycling England's Phillip Darnton's thoughts on our Bike Hub findings.
Which of the following have caused, or continue to concern your business?
Utility bill rises 34.1%
Rent rises 12.5%
Disposing of waste materials 23.9%
Courier charges or inflexibility 11.4%
Lack of cycle mechanics available for hire. 9.1%
Grey import competition 50%
Complete bike price rises 39.8%
Suppliers selling out of key lines 46.6%
The January VAT rise 27.3%
COMMENT: Discounted grey import competion is the most damaging thing to the independent business, according to feedback. It is certainly a bug bear of the BikeBiz forum, with many retailers calling on distributors to take strict action on their suppliers.
Predictably, suppliers miscalculating demand is another major turn off and could cost some suppliers retail accounts.
When would the ideal time for a UK trade show fall on your calendar?
COMMENT: Clearly retailers are strongly against taking time out from their businesses in the summer months. In fact, August through October, where many trade shows sit on the calendar, proved nowhere near as popular as we’d anticipated. Instead, January and Febraury are the clear favourites. Some retailers even referenced CoreBike (Jan) and Icebike (Feb) in their answers.
Where would you like to see BikeHub contributions spent?
Promoting independent bike shops 16.5%
Promotion and development of cycle routes on and off road 30.6%
Construction of dedicated cycling facilities (skate parks etc) 4.7%
Education of consumer on false economy of 'cheap' bikes 9.4%
Youth club, school and adult cycle training 23.5%
Scrap the Bike Hub scheme 4.7%
Integrate cycling into wider national transport 9.4%
COMMENT: Encouragingly, the UK’s longest running industry-wide levy is still in favour with IBDs. With an annual pot now averaging above £400,000, funding is stronger than ever before. Under five per cent saw no value.
Interestingly, the majority opted for things Bike Hub already caters for. However, Transport compatibility issues were raised, as was education of consumers on the dangers of buying cheap.
COMMENT, Phillip Darnton, Cycling England
"Across the UK over 750 businesses contribute to Bike Hub, and have done now for over seven years.
The results of this survey show that 40 per cent of respondents want to see funds invested in promoting cycle routes and links to transport. The new Bike Hub app does just that, enabling people to plan journeys, and at the same time find their nearest IBD, something which another16 per cent of wanted.
What is more, almost a quarter said they saw the importance of training young people to ride their bikes properly. This has been at the heart of Bike Hub’s efforts since 2004, both with Sustrans and over 50 Bike It officers, as well as key projects with young women in Darlington and older people via the LCC.
Of course, Bike Hub cannot satisfy all contributor’s particular wishes, but these results show that it is making a terrific contribution."