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No recession for cycling as report shows another month of sales growth

While the recession still bites in the UK, cycling is fighting the tough times according to the latest cycle retail market report from ActSmart. With cycling becoming more and more popular bike shops are doing well. 

The August report shows core sales of bikes in August increased by 3.7 per cent compared to the same time last year. And while August sales volumes reduced by 11.3 per cent on July this year it’s worth remembering that this is in line with normal seasonal trends - in 2008 the reduction was 11.7 per cent - July and August are traditionally quieter months and the supply of bikes to shops is at its lowest. According to the ActSmart report this year represented an historic low in the numbers of bikes available to shops.

Indeed, although the overall sales growth level in August was below that of July a a large number of bike shops reported a sales increase in August, with the largest group of performers in August reporting sales increases in excess of 20 per cent in the month.

The sales figures in the report were gathered from more than 280 independent cycle retail businesses and workshops throughout the UK, some big some small, representing more than 330 shop fronts.

Fifty-nine per cent of retailers reported sales were up, over half by more than 20 per cent. The 30 per cent of top performers contributed 30 per cent of the total reported sales volumes reflecting a reduction in the size of the best performing businesses in the month of August.

It all means that while the recession is hitting many areas of business, cycling has seen sales grow over the last 12 months by 4.3 per cent. 

The ActSmart report said: “Whether its pre Cycle Show fever or general market bravado, everyone appears to be talking up September's performance and the weather was certainly conducive to a good cycling month, but we have short memories and shouldn't forget that as the world dived into financial crisis last September, the UK specialist cycle trade was reporting a 25% sales growth vs. 2007.

“Given that UK market supply of bicycles was possibly at an all time low during July and August 2009 and we still recorded record sales volumes in July and continued turnover growth throughout August, will this be the spark that lights the flames of an Autumn/Winter resurgence for specialist cycle retailing?”

We shall see.

4 comments

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NickInBath [42 posts] 6 years ago
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It's true that August is historically a lower sales month for bike shops than July but not because its "traditionally the month when the supply of bikes is at its lowest". While that's certainly the case each year for whatever have been that seasons's "hot" bikes, in general and ignoring funny years it's surely because it's the month when everyone goes on holiday. Reflected across the board in retail in general.

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cactuscat [284 posts] 6 years ago
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yes: people go on holiday so they don't buy bikes. so the supply of bikes (to consumers) is low. i don't think he's talking about the supply of bikes to shops, which isn't really relevant in a discussion about sales

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NickInBath [42 posts] 6 years ago
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I see, so supply isn't relevant in a discussion about sales. THAT's where I went wrong in economics. Tsk (thumps head)

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 6 years ago
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Supply of bikes to shops was historically low this year, but from my experience over the last few years it always is in the summer - certainly if you are trying to get review bikes in - and I would say that for the last three or four years the definition of a 'hot' bike has covered pretty much any road-going machine from £500 up.

I know this year that some of the big four were running out of bread and butter bikes in the spring at the point the season traditionally starts - we've reviewed bikes and not run the reviews because we were told that in the time we'd had them they'd run out, the shops had sold out and the manufacturers/distributors didn't have any more. 2010 bikes have been coming early in for months to plug the gap and stock has been diverted from other under-performing markets to the UK. And it wasn't that much different last year either. So you could argue that demand was to some extent depressed for some types of bike at some price points £500-£1000 by a shortage of supply because there weren't any.