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9 Jul 2024

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With the annual Independents’ Day weekend coming up on July 6th and 7th, independent retailers have been reinforcing the message that supporting independent shops boosts...

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Will bike shops be cashing in on the Tour of Britain buzz?

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News

The Tour of Britain kicked off last weekend and the cycling industry across the UK is hoping the event will create a similar buzz of interest as did the Tour de France in July. But will the buzz equate to more cycle retail sales?

Crowds at Le Tour de France Grand Départ YorkshireA survey by cycle network Sustrans, after the Tour de France held three stages in the UK to a roadside audience of millions, showed that a quarter of respondents felt inspired to get into the sport, or increase their cycling activity.

Built on the recent success of British professional riders such as Sir Bradley Wiggins and Lizzie Armitstead, cycling is now big business in the UK and generates an estimated £2bn in annual retail sales.

According to ACT figures, the number of bike shops - mostly independently owned - has increased by around 15% over the past 10 years, which suggests a greater confidence in the growth of the cycle trade. However, more bike shops opening up means more competition, and are events such as the Tour helping to increase demand enough for all bike shops to be successful?

Commenting on whether cycling really has experienced a boom following events such as the Grand Depart, the ACT said "Those inside the industry are widely agreed that the market is not booming to anything like the degree widely published and certainly not in commercial terms. Cycling isn't mainstream enough yet; it is still a relatively small retail sector. It remains male dominated in business and usage, but retains lots of potential for the future."

"At the higher end it's an aspirational market. The products and cycle technology are ever-developing and the more you cycle the more you appreciate the value for money."

Official figures show that it has recently been a crucial period in terms of bike prices. For the previous 20 years, the average cost of bicycles trailed consumer price inflation, as tracked by the ONS. Then, in 2011, the cost spiked by more than 11pc.
At the same time bicycle equipment has improved exponentially over the years, with innovations, such as electronic gears and carbon fibre, making £12,000 "super bicycles" incomparable with the machines of 20 years ago.

"The explosion in the popularity of cycling has been astonishing and has led to great innovation and much greater choice than we could have dreamed back in the Seventies and Eighties," said David Standard, a former Great Britain amateur racing cyclist whose family owned a bike shop in the North of England's traditional club cycling heartland for more than 40 years.

"However, the issue for many new to cycling is: what do you actually need and how much do you need to spend. In my opinion a decent racing bike nowadays is £3000, anything over that is not going to make any difference," he said.

Whether the Tour of Britain will help boost bike sales is yet to be seen, there is more retailers can do to help boost bike sales, particularly with the popularity of high-end bikes growing.

Interest in the luxury end of the market has seen some retailers expand their premium ranges. Halfords - the bicycle and car parts retailer - acquired the racing focused bike brand of former professional cyclist Chris Boardman in June for a reported figure of around £20m.

http://www.actsmart.biz/uploaded_images/news-main-body/ride-it-away-white-no-url.jpgGiving customers more options when it comes to affording a new bike has helped smaller, independent retailers tap into this growing high-end market. The Cycle to Work scheme gives employees the chance to buy a bike and accessories up to £1,000 whereas finance initiatives such as the Ride it Away scheme offered by ACT retailers - which has an average spend over £1,100 - allows customers to purchase bikes and accessories up to the value of £15,000.

Ride it away helps makes higher-end bikes more affordable for customers by giving them the option to spread the cost - with as a little as 0% APR.

Give your customers the opportunity to part of the growing trend for higher end bikes - offer Ride it away retail finance today! Click here to find out more or request some information here.

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