GFK ceases UK bike industry data collection due “insufficient support”

The UK bike industry has been dealt a blow in terms of tracking market data with GFK telling CI.N that it has been forced to pull the plug on its efforts this week.

“Unfortunately we’ve had to take the decision to close the panel. The reality is that there was insufficient support for the service from retailers and brands for us to continue indefinitely,” said Paul Mitchell, a GFK analyst who had attempted to rally the industry’s involvement.

GFK tracks market data quite successfully on mainland Europe with records from the Dutch market showing a sales value record earlier this year.

GFK had initially been one of seven businesses invited to tender as a partner to the Bicycle Association’s efforts on data collection, though that relationship drew to a close “a short way down the path, before they opted not to proceed,” according to Steve Garidis of the BA, speaking to CI.N today.

“We now turn to our own Industry Cycle Retail Audit, which we’ll be working alongside Sports Marketing Surveys on,” added Garidis. “We believe we have all the major retailers actively engaging with our plans, at least we’re got further now than we ever have to date. We’ve have yet to move to contact independents, but with our industry leadership group’s help we can make progress. I’d like to think we can recruit a pool of 500 and eventually cover about 70% of the market’s sales with an automated process that drills down to SKU level. We have contacted seven of the main e-commerce providers to ask for their cooperation too and there’s real interest.”

Garidis says that, once underway, greater participation from the market will lead to a cheaper and cheaper price for access to the data, which the BA will obtain at a fixed cost.

“I would say to the market that now is the time to get involved, there has never been a better time to make this finally happen. The team and the funding is in place to support our efforts, so I encourage those interested to contact us,” adds Garidis.

A notice of termination letter from GFK and seen by CI.N outlines that no more data need be submitted by bike shops and that the final insight report will come at the end of this month.

In terms of existing market data, CI.N’s own 2018 Independent Retail Channel Study provides in depth analysis of buying and investment trends, including data on which bike brands are in the ascendancy, average sales price trends, non product investments, salaries, shop opening and closures and plenty more. The entire study is now available to purchase here.

Back in January Mitchell featured in our CI.N seminar series, delivering a talk on GFK’s work to date and consumer shopping habits. You can view that here.