For me, 2015 will be a year of acquisitions and proof that the corporate world and financial markets still see lots of potential in the UK cycle market.
Who got bought out in the last 12 months? It’s a long list: Evans Cycles was acquired by ECI Partners, Cycle Surgery (and the rest of Snow+Rock) was bought by Cotswold Outdoor owner AS Adventure. Then there was Santa Cruz, Bergamont, 3T, Recon Instrument, UK Cycling Events and Avocet Sports. All acquired in 2015. And those are just the ones I have remembered while hastily bashing out this column. And it’s fair to say there have been a few more corporate backers prepared to spend some cash on new brands launching into the cycle market.
That’s a nice positive to take away from the year, when the humdrum reality of bike retail has been rather less exciting, by most accounts, with the rubbish summer among the reasons for a disappointing year at the tills (read more on that topic in our 2015 Retail Survey in the new December BikeBiz mag).
As the media switches onto cycling in a bigger way there’s more coverage and outlets featuring cycling, which is great news of course, but it does rather give the impression that cycling is going great guns year-on-year, which no doubt played some role in those investors deciding that ‘this is the year we’re going to get into cycling’ and buy x or launch y. In short, the market is not exactly showing any signs of becoming less crowded.
So unless you’re thinking of pedalling off into the sunset, it’s time to knuckle down for another super competitive 12 months, with no doubt a few more investors tempted to snap up bike trade names too.