Sports Marketing Surveys INC is attempted to provide the bike market with valuable accurate statistics. Cycling business manager Kevin Burton tells BikeBiz how they're going to crack this difficult task

SMS INC: ‘The cycle industry is hungry for reliable robust data’

Can you give us some background to SMS INC? You are already well established in other markets…
Sports Marketing Surveys is an experienced sports research business – and we work only on sport and leisure. We focus on servicing the sporting goods, sports lifestyle, sports facility and sports tourism industries. Working alongside major manufacturers, professional bodies, venues and tourist boards, Sports Marketing Surveys INC are leaders in understanding the sporting population; who they are, what they want and what needs to be done to appeal to them. We work internationally with Sports Marketing Surveys USA to provide a full service of investigation, insight and considered action for the sports industry.

We have a vast portfolio of research spanning over 30 years, and an impressive list of clients and partners. We work with brands such as TaylorMade adidas, Callaway, Titleist and Nike in Golf, with Babolat, Wilson, Head Sport in tennis, with Brooks, New Balance and Mizuno in running, and now in cycling with Giant, Scott, Specialized and Trek, to name a few.

SMS INC is planning to collate sales data from the UK bicycle industry – what information are you seeking?
We are collating data for cycles and P&A; evidently this includes clothing. The cycle industry is hungry for robust, reliable research and data across all sectors, and accordingly many of the major brands have already signed up to the programme. We operate these research studies in many other sports markets, and so know that they will be just as commercially valuable and operationally viable in the cycle market to enhance business decision making.

What are the challenges to collating the data?
The main challenges have been educational and operational with the brands, rather than challenges around the process. Brands want and need this information in order to maximise their growth potential – it is a case of explaining the value, and then ensuring they prioritise their support and involvement in a timely manner. We have a skilled team of research experts that have made the gathering and analysis of the data a simple process. Education has been key – and many brands now recognise the power and potential that this data can offer to their business.

Companies have tried to achieve this before, so are you confident you can crack it?
We have been in comparable situations, and faced similar challenges in the past with other sports, and through our knowledge and expertise proved its value. We are working in the same way in the cycling market. We have a dedicated cycle manager with many years of experience in the trade, supported by a committed team of leading sports researchers. 

Why is the information important?
The information will allow the industry to make strategic business decisions based on robust data. The cycle industry has recently experienced a boom, and in order to continue expanding we must better know the trends and factors affecting the different categories, and in understanding the consumer – “research is creating new knowledge”.

Any messages for the trade?
We are here to work with the industry and to help cycling compete and grow in the leisure market across Europe. Gaining initial trust with the market took time – but now with several of the leading names in cycling as our clients, brands are taking note of what we are doing, and so are further exploring our knowledge and asking for more. It is great to see that the industry is responding, and is conscious of what research and insight can offer.

Why did SMS INC get involved in the market and how do you benefit?
We made a concerted effort two years ago to evolve cycling into one of our key sports and we subsequently appointed Kevin Burton who has over 20 years’ experience in the bicycle industry. 

Through our international, multisport, participation projects we know the size of the cycle market, and its demographics, and the potential that the sport presents. We want to offer vital information to brands, and bodies, to enable them to understand the market place, and essentially allow the sport to continue to develop. 

You can find out more about the business through our website or contact Kevin Burton – our cycling business manager – directly at:

Tel +44 (0) 1932 345 539

In other news...

Jonathan Bell joins Silverfish as UK sales manager

Silverfish has announced the appointment of Jonathan Bell as UK sales manager. Bell joins the …