Wiggo, London 2012, the momentum behind cycling and the interminable rain...

The bike industry looks back on 2012

Humphrey Cobbold, CEO, Wiggle: “In the UK it is clear that the last three months have been stronger than the early part of the year which struggled given a combination of poor weather and a challenging economy. Three factors seem to have contributed to this: first, the Tour de France and some kind of ‘Wiggo’ effect, second the Olympics, and third some better weather combined at the end of the Summer. It’s hard to work out which was the most important but the impact has been clear and positive on the Wiggle business.

Overall, we feel like cycling is gaining good overall momentum and a great example of this is 1,500-plus riders who took part in the Wiggle South Downs Sportive from Chichester on Sunday October 21st. Five years ago that would have been one of the largest sportives in the country on a hot summer day in June – but this was on a grey and windy day in autumn!”

Mark Gouldthorp, MD, Raleigh: “Whilst we saw strong P&A sales in the first half of 2012, headlines like ‘the worst weather since records began’ didn’t do us any favours for bike sales. However, we’ve seen a marked improvement in bike sales since then, helped in part our marketing efforts and acquisition by the Accell Group.

"Commuter and leisure bikes have always been strong for Raleigh but high-end road bikes have sold particularly well recently, which we can attribute to Team Raleigh-GAC’s performances in the Tour Series and the Tour of Britain. We’re now seeing a better autumn performance than 2011 and retailers are reporting a high level of demand for our 2013 bikes thanks to our presence at The Cycle Show.

"Another noticeable impact of this summer’s sporting success has been the greater number of bike repair jobs that dealers are reporting, which has obviously helped sales of P&A. Coming up to Christmas we’re seeing lots of interest in kids bikes, especially our junior racing bikes, which may well be caused by the enthusiasm that the Olympics generated.”

Dave Taylor, Marketing Director, Schwalbe UK: “It was arguably one of the wettest summers on record and it undoubtedly affected sales for everyone everywhere in the industry (unless you were in the waterproof clothing market!). Luckily we had an amazing Olympics and Tour de France year that may have helped retailers claw back some lost sales due to the weather, but I think these events were more of a well-timed short term boost to an otherwise steadily growing industry. I don’t think retailers have been helped by the Government delaying its plans to alter business rates either but now (dare I say it) that we’re ‘out of recession’ things may well be looking up for 2013.”

Robert Priest, European Sales Director, SRAM: “Spring was a little soft over previous years, particularly in the MTB sections, which could be related to confusion at consumer lever of wheel sizes. Urban bikes clearly suffered from the poor weather as families were forced to stay at home. Road bikes saw very little change over previous years, with some inventory in the channels late summer, however there are signs of recovery as new builds start at production locations in Asia.

"Were sales as strong as last year? That’s always a difficult question, there are always winners and losers from a brand perspective. Overall SRAM continues to grow its business.

"And did the Olympics have any impact? There was no real measured growth in sales, you could argue that it has the reverse effect as people stay in and watch it on TV. However, the PR the industry gets from successful cycling events is always good so I’m sure it’s more of a long-term investment than immediate growth in sales.”

Want to share your thoughts on 2012? Then add them to the comments stream below or email us at BikeBiz@intentmedia.co.uk

PIC CREDIT: BritishCycling

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