Predictions for the bike trade from industry guru Jay Townley

More direct to consumer sales & cycle cafés predicted for 2016

US-based cycle trade guru Jay Townley sees more direct to consumer sales, more cycle cafes and a rise in the importance of ‘selling the experience’ in 2016…

1. The trend of Brands selling direct to the consumer will expand as the retailing of bicycles continues to experience an historic transition driven by the new digital and tech world, evolving demographics and the combined impact on consumers Path to Purchasing a bicycle. This will ramp-up the financial pressure in the form of slimmer gross margins of profit and tighter credit and will push more specialty retailers of bicycles to become service and/or fulfillment centers.

2. Other retailers of bicycles will continue to expand their Omni-Channel capabilities to become more like Outdoor Specialty Retailers in a bid to capture more consumers on the Path to Purchasing a bicycle with “seamless” shopping experiences.

3. More Specialty Retailers including Outdoor and Bike Shops will incorporate cafés and beer and coffee bars and others full service food in 2016 – all of which are intended to make these specialty retailers “sticky” and a third-place for consumers. 

4. With Outdoor Specialty, Bike Shops and Full-Line Sporting Goods Chains looking for ways to get a leg up on pure-plays and brands that are selling consumer direct – it would seem that the bundles that we have talked about for years have come into their own, along with offering a variety of bike tours and adventure rides as experiential gifts not just for the Holiday Season, but all year-round!

More than one-third of 18-24 year olds (36 percent) and 25-34 year olds (35 percent) planned to give a gift of experience, and half say they would like to receive one in the holiday season.

"Retailers will embrace this latest disruption in retail — the experience — in order to keep up with ever-growing consumer expectations on the Path to Purchasing a bicycle.

Jay Townley, Partner, Gluskin Townley Group

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