Bike revenue to ‘hit fast lane’: report

Sparking off International Ride to Work Day in late June, there’s good news for bike shops and manufacturers: business information analysts IBISWorld estimate that bicycle industry revenue is set to grow by 17.2 percent over the next five years, topping $3.2 billion.

Despite years of rider growth, the bicycle industry has yet to substantially benefit from the green trend. Since 2005, the number of Australians strapping on a helmet and hitting the streets has risen by 15.5 percent, with more than two million Aussies now riding regularly.

However, many of these riders simply dusted off bikes they already owned – which has meant the industry is yet to see sales matching the growth in riders.

Solid growth in commuter cyclists has been supported by new and improved cycling lanes and bike paths, along with exploding urban populations, higher fuel and parking prices and traffic congestion.

According to IBISWorld General Manager (Australia), Robert Bryant, 2008 sees a rapid rise in the number of cyclists on our roads - jumping by 21.2 percent as the price of fuel reached record highs and cyclist numbers have steadily increased since.

“Initiatives such as International Ride to Work Day further encourage Australians to take to two wheels. Participation increased ninefold from 2006 (10,181 participants) to 2009 (95,000).”

• The bicycle industry is about to see a boost as well. According to IBISWorld analysts, the $2.6 billion industry has declined over the past five years, due to the global financial crisis and poor consumer spending, but that is about to turn around.

IBISWorld forecasts that this year 1.2 million bikes will be sold in Australia, with the average price of $927 – driven up by sports cycles, which sell for an average of $2,800.

As consumers begin spending more freely, greater bike sales are expected to continue – particularly as traffic congestion continues to increase, alongside Australians’ health-consciousness and subsequent desire for a more active lifestyle.

IBISWorld expects an additional $723.7 million will be spent on cycling accessories in 2011-12 from fashion and helmets to lights and repair kits and further $100 million will be spent on repairs and maintenance.

“Although the industry has slumped 13.1 percent from its $2.8 billion peak in 2005-06 due to the global financial crisis, we expect Australia’s bicycle industry to grow by 17.2% over the next five years to be worth a healthy $3.2 billion, with sales and distribution of bikes contributing 65 percent of revenue,” Bryant says.

While it has the highest population – and worst traffic jams – Sydney’s lack of bike paths, hilly suburbs and proliferation of tight one-way streets has resulted in it having the nation’s lowest cycling rate.

Just seven percent of NSW residents cycle, compared with ten percent in Victoria or 13 percent in the ACT.

However, both the City of Sydney and the Victoria government have cycle strategies in place which will continue to support growth in bicycles sales over the next five years, reports IBISWorld.

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