2021 has undoubtedly been an unorthodox year, with independents, brands and distributors alike feeling the inevitable effects of a turbulent period for businesses the world over. BikeBiz catches up with several UK distributors to reflect on a bizarre yet successful period for the cycling industry.
Today, we hear from Lee Kidger, managing director, Raleigh UK
Coming out of 2020, we were cautiously optimistic of the year ahead as many challenges we faced in 2020 are still apparent within the industry this year. Supply chain issues have still been a major consideration for us as the world’s manufacturing hubs are still grappling with the pandemic and its knock-on effect to the global economy. However, we have seen considerable buoyancy in the UK market after last year’s peak, the market is maintaining a stronger position than pre-pandemic levels which is a great sign.
We have gained several brands this year. To name a few; Weeride – part of the wider Raleigh philosophy in making cycling more accessible to all people. It puts child safety at the forefront on its values and encouraging families out on the bike with innovative tag-a-longs and front-mounted safety seats.
Pembree, a component manufacturer with some incredible pedals, is challenging the bike industry through sustainability with its carbon neutral products, manufactured in the UK, making the supply chain more sustainable within its carbon neutral business model.
Behind the scenes
With big plans from the UK Government being implemented as it tackles decarbonisation head-on, micromobility solutions including e-bikes and e-cargo bikes are set to continue to rise in demand. Raleigh is working with key projects nationally, including The National Trust, that looks to swap dirty carbon emitting last-mile vehicles for greener electric cargo options.
Sustainability is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry in the coming years and we, as brand owners, should be constantly committing and delivering on sustainable promises. Cycling has the power to offer a much more ecologically-friendly vehicle to improve not only commuters but also families alike. As we look to the future, sustainability will be a major focus for the business.
A post-COVID world
During the pandemic, we saw a higher level of participation in cycling and as a result higher volume of sales in the industry. We expect this to continue post-COVID as we saw a shift in perception towards a healthier and more active lifestyle for many people in the UK.
This is a positive sign, particularly as people become more sustainably conscious, they are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and stay healthier. We are seeing further investment in cycling infrastructure which is great to see, meaning our roads will be safer and more accessible to new cyclists. We are not there yet, but the constant focus on this must remain to promote safe cycling even more.
One initiative from Raleigh is our Partner Plus scheme giving IBDs access to better pricing on several of our exclusive brands, including preferential delivery and gifts each quarter. Raleigh is always looking to maintain robust distribution channels as ultimately it’s critical for the survival of their business.
2022 and beyond
Raleigh has big plans for 2022, the biggest being the migration of our old systems to a new ERP and B2B system. Ultimately improving the customer’s experience and enhancing our data integration across the business. New product launches from our bike brands, Raleigh, Haibike and Lapierre, will take further strides into the e-bike market to really showcase how bikes can support everyday travel.
Our exclusive distribution brands have exciting product coming too; MET MY22 launches any day now alongside increasing focus from Saris on the indoor training market. You never know, there might even be something for our Raleigh brand fans coming in 2022 as well. I can’t say anything but it’s big news.
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