The cycling industry in Europe is in rude health. That is the key message from Cycling Industries Europe’s (CIE) latest business health-check.
Revenues and employment are up. Investments are back on track, and businesses are less likely to need fiscal support from government.
The results come from the fifth wave of a the business health-check study, which was conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS). SMS and CIE have provided research on the state of the industry since the beginning of the COVID pandemic which have become the go-to resource for companies and EU officials to get an overall picture of the state of the cycling sector.
Based on submissions by a broad range of cycling companies in March 2022, CIE is now reporting an overview of 2021, with comparisons to 2020 and pre-pandemic years. Overall the picture is extremely positive, with 77% of companies taking on new staff (up from 53%) and increased investments in most business areas
There are two notes of caution emerging which are worth watching carefully for 2022. Unsurprisingly the major issue is supply chain challenges, with 86% of companies reporting ongoing problems and little confidence that the situation will be resolved in 2022. The most noticeable change in the cause of delay was a 27 percentage point increase in the number of businesses citing electrical components shortages, linked to global delays in the microchip supply chain. Confidence in consumer demand has dampened compared to the euphoric position at the end of 2020. At the end of 2020 76% of companies were “very confident” and 18% “confident” about consumer demand. At the end of 2021, 90% of companies overall were still confident, but breakdown shows 34% were “very confident” and 56% “confident”. This result matches other data from the cycling sector, such as the fact that 2021 bicycles sales dipped below the extraordinary levels of 2020, but remain ahead of 2019 numbers in many sectors, although growth is variable.
Unsurprisingly, the main areas that cycling businesses are considering investing in for 2022 are led by capacity increases, European production, and staff acquisition, followed by product development. Product designers will be pleased to hear that their skills are in demand, with 73% of companies planning new recruitment in this area.
CIE Chief Executive Kevin Mayne said “Today the cycling industries of Europe are one of the most positive segments of European industry and that shows in the positive news about revenues and investments in our sector. However we must not be complacent, the severe impacts of supply chain pressures are dampening demand and we are in a competitive fight with other industries and other parts of the world to secure raw materials, components and shipping. We will be using the information from our business survey to tell the EU institutions about our members’ opportunities and needs. Microchips and batteries are good examples of where one industry like automotive can suck up resources which put other successful European industries at risk, therefore we need to be part of EU strategies for supporting future supply.“
SMS’ Marc Anderman added, “The results emphasise cycling’s key position in European industry, as well as highlighting that there is still potential to unlock in 2022 and beyond. Together with the CIE’s Market Impact and Intelligence Expert Group, we look forward to undertaking research that helps businesses across Europe to get more people on bikes more often.”
Extracted highlights of the latest CIE Business Impact Survey can be found here, with CIE members able to get additional information through CIE’s Market Impact and Intelligence Expert Group.
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