Bike trade is optimistic about 2015, but has plenty to say about 2014

BikeBiz Retail Survey 2014: Profits and competition

Despite finding the market more competitive and difficult to predict, the majority of bicycle retailers are confident about trading in 2015.

In the BikeBiz Retail Survey 2014 bike shops revealed their take on the past 12 months of the market, touching on topics like cycle to work, finance, forward ordering and whether profits are up or down on 2013…

1. By what percentage have your annual profits increased or declined year-on-year?

The numbers paint a largely positive picture – with almost ten per cent of respondents reporting an amazing 50 per cent rise in profits (48.97 in total reported profit rises).

Delve a little deeper and some of the comments revealed that rises came at a cost, for some. One retailer told us they had achieved the rise “only though working far more hours”, while another said they were seeing “massive pressure on margin from online competitors”. One retailer showing their staying power, revealed “we are three years old and we’ve yet to make a profit or cover costs”.

2. Have you found competition for business has increased this year?

Given the growing interest in the market, fuelled by the successes of Wiggins, Froome, Pendleton, et al – it’s no surprise to see competition on the up. Aside from this survey BikeBiz has heard anecdotes from virtually all sides of the trade that it’s getting more competitive out there (which perhaps makes those rises in profits all the more surprising and impressive), it’s interesting to see that retailers are also feeling the same.

Predictably the online threat was cited by some retailers, while one shop touched on a mainly unreported problem, arguing competition was “largely from organisations funded by public money”, something the BikeBiz team is hearing more about of late. One shop said: “a ‘performance centre’ that started off as one thing has now started selling bikes and that has hit road bike sales.”

Stay tuned for the rest of the results to the BikeBiz Retail Survey 2014. If you’re in a hurry download the December mag as a PDF or read it online

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