One bike retailer writes in with his views on the state of the market

Letters: ‘Why are things so quiet in the shop?’

Last month we ran a straw poll to see how independent bike dealer business has been so far in 2015. Of the respondents, 32 per cent said they were significantly down on sales, with some saying they’d had lower footfall in the first half of the year. We received a letter through the post from a reader who found the figures troubling…

The recent ‘Straw Poll’ figures (BikeBiz August, issue 115) may appear to give some satisfaction to a certain proportion of the trade reporting an increase in bike sales. But what should give cause for concern is that over half of those polled (56 per cent) claim no increase at all.

Considering a huge number (32 per cent) of those polled report a serious downturn in sales, then surely that must stand closer scrutiny as to the possible reasons.

Being a very friendly, wide contact trade, personal experiences and situations are easily shared and the talking point this year is “why are things so quiet?” And, no conclusive answers.

As with many outdoor activities, the weather does play a major part, and many cold, wet weekends this year have not helped.

That apart led many to observe the increasing number of our own suppliers and importers that are selling direct to the public via their ‘own brand’ outlets or at least some having seasonal direct sales.
Does that indicate over production and supply of bicycles chasing fewer customers?

For many IBDs, there may or may not be the resultant serving and aftermarket gains, as many purchasers feel obliged to return to the original point of sale.

‘Bikes for work’ have helped a certain segment of the trade, but allegations of abuse abound. Is a £1,000 carbon fibre product really for travelling to work? And there are claims that children’s bikes are being bought this way too. Surely this is not within the spirit in which it was meant. Maybe there should be a more sensible limit? Some IBDs have ceased selling new bikes and turned to second hand and/or components only. The numbers game leaves many wanting.

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