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GfK urges cycle retailers to get involved with new UK cycle stats

In August BikeBiz revealed that research giant GfK is to launch regular sales data reports on the bicycle industry, providing an accurate view of bicycle sales in the country for the first time.

Mirroring what the company has done for years in the Dutch cycle market, and in various other industries, the data will poll IBDs and chains alike, feeding key market data back to participants.

So how’s it going to work? And what will retailers gain by taking part? We spoke with GfK’s business group director Daniel Fearnley to find out more about the proposal and how retail can participate…

How has the trade responded to the request to get involved?
We have been encouraged by the response from all areas of specialist bike retailing. The stronger the take up to become involved the more robust the research will be from the outset so we are still encouraging retailers of all sizes to contact myself or Jane to get involved.

Is it just retailers you’re looking to get involved at present?
At this stage it is retailers we need to recruit to work with GfK. Once we have a sample of retailers that is representative of the industry we will look to work with the manufacturers also.

And you’ll be measuring online sales as well as sales in physical bricks and mortar stores?
Correct, this is very relevant in today’s increasingly mobile retail landscape so we will report the market as a total and also as a split online vs offline.

So what are the advantages for retailers signing up?
Retailers will have access to industry data and the trends this shows. Economic data and information from across the world of durables retailing from GfK all assisting their business whether large or small. However rather than me sell the industry what we offer here are a couple of testimonials from current retail partners:

“In an information-loaded world it is great to get industry-relevant information in an easy format for absolutely nothing.”

“The information provided by GfK gives me an insight into trends within the industry and economic information which would otherwise be impossible for me to source.

“In these difficult economic times every little helps, particularly when it’s free.”

And their own shop’s data will remain confidential?
Let me be completely clear on this point, GfK’s number one priority is to ensure the complete confidentiality of any participant. We will never report on the sales of an individual retailer, all sales are aggregated to ensure this.

Bikes will be the main focus of GfK’s reporting initially. Will you be measuring the type of bike as well as unit sales?
Yes we will. GfK will hard code all the features of a bike i.e. bike type, brake type, gear number, tyre width etc to enable us to report back to the industry in great detail. Our business is not reporting market sizes but on adding value to industries through reporting the types of products, the price of products, their distinguishing features and how these are behaving and evolving within the market place over time.

And in future, GfK will look to report on accessories, clothing, spares, etc?
Absolutely, we have already decided to run a total category report for the bikes industry as it has become apparent very quickly to us that the non-bike sales within the marketplace are just as important (profitable) for retailers and manufacturers. It makes sense for us to work on this in parallel from the outset.

Is there a timescale to offering that reporting in addition to the bike data? 
We will aim to have this live in H1 2013.

GfK already works in the cycle market in Holland. How long has it been working in the Dutch market?
We have been active in the Netherlands since 1997 and for bike sales we are considered the industry currency there.

Any final thoughts for the trade?
Since announcing the plan to run this service two months ago I have had numerous conversations with industry people. It’s clear that the retail cycling market has been in need of in-depth statistics and retail sales analysis for a long time. I urge all retailers, online or bricks and mortar to get involved and see what GfK can offer your business.

To find out how to contribute to the bicycle report and gain greater insights into the industry, contact either: GfK business group director Daniel Fearnley on 0870 603 8113, Daniel.Fearnley@gfk.com or GfK field operations manager Jane Hills 07810 633112, Jane.Hills@gfk.com.

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