The salary-sacrificing "green travel" Cycle to Work scheme is critical to the success of independent bike retailers, a new survey has concluded. The survey was carried out by the Cycle to Work Alliance and found that 62% of bike retailers thought that the scheme was either important or very important to their businesses.
Over 2,200 independent bike retailers across the UK are involved in the delivery of the Cycle to Work scheme.
The Cycle to Work Alliance is a group of the facilitators of the Cycle to Work scheme, including Cyclescheme, Cycle Solutions, Evans Cycles and Halfords.
Stephen Holt, commercial director, Cyclescheme, said: “The survey shows that independent bike retailers recognise the contribution that the Cycle to Work scheme makes to their businesses. It also highlights that many of the retailers involved in delivering the scheme are small businesses with a small workforce. These small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economies.
Steve Garidis, pperations drector of the Bicycle Association said: “These results demonstrate the impact of the Cycle to Work scheme on the economic sustainability of the many small independent bike retailers across the UK. Bike retailers recognise the contribution that the scheme makes to their business success in addition to its key role in increasing participation in cycling.”
The key findings were:
62% of retailers thought that the scheme was either very important (37%) or important (25%) to their business success.
42% of retailers that supply bikes to users of the scheme have a turnover of less than £250,000 per year, and 70% have a turnover of less than £500,000 per year.
65% of the bike retailers that supply bikes to users of the scheme employ less than five people.
Nearly a third (32%) of retailers said that a majority of the cycle to work users (over 50%) who receive their bike through their business are new customers to them.
A further quarter (26%) of retailers said that 25-50% of scheme users were new customers for them.
Over half of retailers (51%) see more than 30% of scheme users return for servicing.
Nearly half of retailers (46%) see more than 20% of scheme users make further purchases from their business.
The Cycle to Work scheme was ntroduced in the 1999 Finance Act, and encourages employers to loan bicycles and cycling safety equipment to employees as a tax-exempt benefit for the purpose of cycling to work. Under the scheme, employers buy cycling equipment from suppliers approved by their scheme administrator, and hire it to their employees. At the end of the loan period, the employer may choose to give the employee the option to purchase the equipment.
Since its introduction, over 600,000 people have participated in the scheme.