Cycling is now number one global sports market

Sales topped €33bn in 2010

Cycling is now the biggest sporting goods market in the world in terms of revenue, according to a survey by multinational market research company NPD Group.

Global sales totalled nearly €33 billion (US$46bn) last year – an increase of four percent on 2009. Some 137 million bicycles (including electric bikes) were sold, with the average price estimated at €179 ($249). Cycling accounted for 15 percent of all sporting goods revenue.

Back in August the London School of Economics published a similarly encouraging report on the economic value of cycling in the UK, calculating that the country's GCP or ‘Gross Cycling Product’ was around £2.9bn, or £230 per cyclist.

Analysis from the US seems to confirm a positive economic picture there too. Industry revenue rose to $5.94bn in 2010, up from $5.68bn the year before – an increase of 4.6 percent and a return to 2008 revenue levels, according to the 2011 US Specialty Bicycle Retail Study compiled by Jay Townley of the Gluskin Townley Group.

The NPD report – their sixth Global Sport Market Estimate – covers the sale of bikes, parts, accessories, rental, maintenance and cycle clothing. It shows there were seven countries in which the sporting goods market exceeded $10bn in 2010 – the USA, Japan, Germany, China, France, UK and Italy.

The survey comments specifically on the electric bike phenomenon, saying: “Electrical bikes have yet to prove that they're a mass market product in Western Europe (with the exception of some countries such as the Netherlands). We believe what's missing is a touch of glamour on the bikes, and they're expensive in comparison with traditional bicycles.

"So, the interesting question is at what level of price will demand for hybrid technology products start to rocket and hit the mass market, and when will this happen? This is probably around half the current prices (the psychological price is certainly below €500) and the turning point is probably still a few years from now.”

The NPD’s cycling survey is for sale and includes data broken down by region and by nation for all countries in the world. For more information, visit www.npd.com.

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