Consumer finance is an increasingly important selling tool for bike retailers, with IBD finance schemes rocketing and the UK’s largest bike retailer, Halfords, now offering finance to consumers.
Recent legislation changes have also paved the way for more bike retailers to offer finance. Many smaller bike shops are now exempt from FCA regulation and the accompanying charges (“Regs change to open finance up to more bike shops?”).
Halfords has recently introduced finance to their business, on any bike over £399. Not only are bicycles covered by Halfords’ finance offer, but also bundled products on top can be bought with finance.
Meanwhile more independent bike dealers are offering the Ride it away cycle finance scheme, with sales rocketing by over 83 per cent in 2014. That rise was due in part to more retailers engaging in the scheme, but according to statistics passed to BikeBiz from ActSmart, sales have already increased by around 30 per cent in 2015.
ActSmart director Tony Jones told BikeBiz: “Recent research identified the UK independent cycle finance market potential as £150m-plus and it is without doubt the fastest growing sales aid for cycle sales in the UK.”
Despite the growth, the cycle trade is lagging behind other markets that are making full use of finance to shift product.
Jones added: “The market is only just beginning to get to grips with how to apply it on a wide scale basis and most of the best examples are still outside the trade.”
Bundling products with add-ons, like Halfords, is one area that the cycle trade is well behind others.
“There are single outlet IBD businesses with financed sales volumes running into millions and some just several thousands. The individual IBD decides how they want finance to impact on their turnover via local promos.
“We have been inundated with new retailer applications for finance and at present over 100 IBDs are applying to offer finance this summer.”
BikeBiz’s latest retail survey found over half of retailers were seeing more bikes being sold though finance.