Supply chains ‘remain a barrier’ to thriving European cycling industry

This article was written by Sports Marketing Surveys

Figures from Europe’s leading cycling businesses paint a portrait of an industry that has risen to the challenge presented by the pandemic, gradually returning to and eventually overhauling 2019 sales in 2020. 73% of cycling businesses ended last year with higher revenues than in 2019.

All the signs are that 2021 cycling sales in Europe are picking up where 2020 left off. When surveyed in April 2021, businesses reported increased sales compared to Q1 2020, as well as surges in planned recruitment and capital expenditure. The prognosis for 2021 and beyond is positive, with three-quarters of businesses very confident about consumer demand and the growth of the overall European cycling market.

However, a warning was also sounded, with 85% of businesses reporting supply chain challenges in meeting this swelling demand. Two-thirds of these businesses class the challenges as ‘significant’ or ‘very significant’ and a clear majority do not expect the situation to normalise for at least six months.

The figures come from the fourth wave of the COVID-19 impact study, commissioned by Cycling Industries Europe (CIE) and conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS), a leading sports and leisure research agency with expertise in cycling. As well as bespoke work with cycling brands, retailers, events and federations, SMS operates the Cycling Market Data Service in the UK on behalf of the Bicycle Association.

The programme, which recently celebrated its first anniversary, aggregates sales of over 850,000 individual products from an estimated 70% of the total UK market, including both specialist IBDs and generalist sports and leisure stores. The pool of data providers includes major online retailers as well as bricks and mortar stores.

Marc Anderman, SMS’ representative on CIE’s market impact and intelligence expert group, commented: “The European cycling industry should be hugely proud of what it has achieved over the last year. Going forward, demand, both consumer and business, is predicted to remain high, but that wasn’t always a given.

“In March 2020, consumer demand was a major concern for businesses, while worries about business demand lingered well into summer 2020. Many businesses needed support to navigate initial losses, and they may need it again if supply chain issues do take their toll. What’s clear is that that support has been more than worth it.

“Married with innovative thinking and key investment by local and national authorities, as well as businesses themselves, fiscal support enabled the cycling industry to be in the position it is in now, where it can be a success story on multiple levels, creating investment, jobs and revenue and driving social change.”

Chief executive of CIE, Kevin Mayne, added: “Robust data is no longer a nice to have when it comes to effective advocacy for the cycling industry. It’s essential. We are therefore grateful to all of our members who have supported the four waves of the COVID-19 impact study.

“This insight, along with other initiatives that are currently being considered by the expert group, has a vital role to play in making the case for cycling at a European level, as well as in helping individual businesses take strategic decisions that will be a springboard for future success.”

Businesses seeking to learn more about the European Cycling Industry, or how research can help them achieve their aims in cycling, are encouraged to get in touch with

Cycling Industries Europe is the trade body providing a united voice for European Cycling Businesses. For more information, please visit

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