Without being able to call upon the services of Mystic Meg, seeing into the future is a tricky business. An undeterred Jonathon Harker and Mark Sutton gave it a go anyway and ask the trade for their 2010 predictions...

INDUSTRY OPINIONS: 2010 predictions

This month BikeBiz speaks to Sustran’s Pete Lipman, Brompton’s William Butler Adams, Chris Boardman, 2pure’s George Bowie, Team Buff, Halford’s David Wild, Zyro’s Chris Davis and Andy Budd, WiZZBiKE’s John Simnett and Steve Barnett from Cycling On:

“In 2010, I predict an increase in bike sales as the volatility of oil prices, combined with the recession, means people start using their cars less and start cycling more.”

“I predict that in 2010 the industry will continue to see a shift in growth areas. Cycling in the 1940s was about transport and then along came the car, which changed people’s aspirations. Now that has come full circle and people are beginning to leave the traffic jams in exchange for the simple mode of transport that is the bicycle. There is a transport renaissance in the works in the UK, so industry growth is perfectly achievable.

“I’m hoping the Government will deliver further infrastructure to cyclists. This is one of the key factors in keeping the industry’s performance consistent and also to see further growth. There has to be a political will to make this happen. The Cycle Highways in the city are a great start, but these infrastructure changes need to be not just in London, but nationwide.”

“I attended a government launch recently to help promote even more cycling to work. The fact that four crown ministers were present shows the level of positive change we are seeing. The Cycle to Work scheme has had a huge impact on people using bikes as transport and I’m glad the Government is seeing rewards for making an effort.

“The big scary hurdle for them is the allocation of road space. In most places this is fixed and however you want to cut it, a choice has to be made as to who gets priority: cars or bikes. When they take down the first ‘cyclists dismount’ sign and replace it with one saying ‘car drivers give way to cyclists’, they will have cracked it. Whoever does that will get my vote.”

“As the industry becomes more and more professional, there will be new investors entering the market. This inevitably will alter the way the industry operates.

“The way product gets from manufacturer to consumer is changing, but will change even more. Distribution barriers are breaking down international borders, which will have an impact and internet retail is a driving force behind this. This is a great time to be in the bike industry, but it is not about what happens next year. It is the next five years that we should be focusing on.”

“I think we’ll see some consolidation in the industry, with the weaker players being sifted out and when a return to growth happens then a stronger retail industry will remain.

“And with a continued underlying growth in people participating in outdoor and cycle activities (due to the current trend to get outdoors and get fit) we think, all-in-all, that there should be good long-term growth within the industries.”

“We predict another year of continuing sector growth.

“We’ll see more consumers opting for urban and folding bikes as they incorporate cycling into their everyday activity. Meanwhile, the growing popularity of cycling as a sport means there’ll be a continuing strong demand for premium bikes like the Boardman.”

“2010 will be a year of consolidation for many parts of the industry, as the UK consumer continues to feel the effects of the recession. However, with Government backing and the industry working together, the number of people taking up recreational and commuter cycling will continue to grow, with the beneficiaries being those that provide the best service and product range for the end consumer.”

“For cycling trends next year, I see bespoke road bikes, like Trek’s Project One, doing well.

“I’ve no doubt that we’ll also see more Bromptons for mixed mode cycling; the first Cycle Super Highways (let’s hope they’re really good); traffic calming measures to encourage new cyclists; and cycling the wrong way up one-way streets becoming official policy and not just for politicians.”

“ I predict a lot of confusion in the business world and retail world. That’s because we are going to have politicians putting measures in place – mostly tax increases and savings raids – to take money out of the economy to get it straight whilst telling you and me that somebody else is going to be worse off.

“When you add to the mix big retailers spinning figures to try and convince shareholders and consumers that they are doing really well when they are not, you’re going to get the confusion that I mentioned.

“This is going to go on for a few years and the wise retailer will use next year to put in place a business model which is resilient to it all.

“I would also hope that the seeds planted this year by ACT with respect to quality of cheap bikes will begin to grow and that increasing public awareness of the issues will do for Bike Shaped Objects (BSOs) what it did to the Polski Fiat.”

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