BikeBiz cycle dealer research underlines rocketing importance of the internet for the bicycle retail sector

Cycle stores say online is a ‘greater threat than supermarkets’

The BikeBiz Retail Survey 2009 has revealed that cycle retailers nationwide fear the growth of online retail far more than any other type of direct competition. In fact, the increased rivalry from supermarkets selling bikes troubled just 6.3 per cent of cycle retailers, a figure dwarfed by the 27.8 per cent concerned that online retail competition is a threat to their business.

But many cycle retailers are taking action in response to those concerns about the growth of online. Over a quarter of survey respondents revealed that upping their online offering was something they were planning to invest in over the coming year. BikeBiz’s survey results also unearthed the fact that almost 40 per cent of retailers had seen growth in their online businesses.

Cycle stores indicated that product scarcity was as likely to cause their business harm as any competition. Following a summer of shortages, particularly of mid to high-end road bikes, many manufacturers were forced to bring forward 2010 models to cope with the demand.

Road bikes seem to have been in such favour that 64.5 per cent of survey respondents said that this was the one segment that had notably seen an increase in customer enquiries. Early indications from the BikeBiz forum do, however, highlight that we’re set for another Christmas of high BMX bike sales.

Significantly, the clothing, helmets and accessories market appears to be a real money-spinner for the nation’s stores, with 59 per cent of dealer respondents stating that £10,000-plus is made annually off the back of these sales.

You can see the full BikeBiz Retail Survey results on page 32 of the latest issue of the magazine, available to view online here, or download here.

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