In 2023 the advocacy work of cycling organisations at the EU has seen a breakthrough in the status of cycling in EU policy. In 2023 the EU Commission will publish an EU Cycling Declaration showing structural support for the sector, and cycling now features alongside the automotive, public transport and maritime industries involved in co-constructing a common industrial plan for a European “Mobility Ecosystem Transition pathway”. This means that the cycling industry can look forward to much better access, leverage and funding from EU in the future, as long as it shows willingness to work towards the same industrial objectives. The potential exists to grow the European cycling market by as much as 8 million additional units per year, but this is unlikely to be realised if the strategic challenges in supply chains remain unresolved.
To support this powerful policy opportunity CIE has decided to make the results of our 2022 research “Bridging the Gap” public for the first time, so that all stakeholders (industrial, government, civil society, academia etc.) can access the findings of the research, apply the recommendations, reduce the risks of future supply chain and act to collectively make the cycling industry more resilient.
At minimum every strategic manager in the industry should read the recommended action plan as it sets out a clear and concise roadmap for reform, based on the experience of the leading professionals in the sector who contributed to the research.
Our thanks to the researchers and contributors that made this work possible. Due to anonymity rules only the Research Group knows the individual contributors, but together we would like to thank all individuals and companies who contributed to the development of “Bridging the Gap”.
While many could envy the growth in sales and activity the cycling sector witnessed during 2020-2022, the industry also faced a desperate race to meet the unexpected boom in demand and witnessed a collapse of its global supply chain.
In support of its members and the wider industry Cycling Industries Europe commissioned “Bridging the Gap”, an initiative to evaluate the state of supply chains in the European cycling market after the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and to recommend strategic actions that companies, governments, investors and associations can take to underwrite a sustainable supply of bicycles and allied products to European markets within a complex global supply system.
It was set up as an initiative with input from three perspectives: supply chain management (1), the cycling industry (2), market research and consumer behaviour (3), involving an independent group of researchers from three institutions – MotionLab Berlin (now NOCA), Sports Marketing Surveys (now Sports Insights), and Edinburgh Napier University of Edinburgh.
The team used both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to draw up a dynamic picture of the cycling industry’s supply chain in 2020 and 2021. Mass surveys and one-to-one interviews tell how a new type of cyclist emerged from the lockdowns, how the cycling industry experienced the variations in demand during the pandemic, how transportation issues exacerbated delivery delays and how industry players’ collective behaviour provoked a ‘bullwhip effect’ across the supply chain.
The findings of the study have been a powerful tool in guiding the development of an industry strategy for CIE as an organisation and providing content for EU industrial consultations on supply chains, strategic dependencies, critical raw materials etc. Selected findings were shared at key industry events like Eurobike 2022.
The team of authors would like to thank the industry experts contributing to this study for their time and effort made to compile the supply chain data and/or act as interview partners, providing their insights and opinions. Due to anonymity rules only the Research Group knows the individual contributors, but together with CIE we would like to thank all individuals and companies who have contributed to the development of “Bridging the Gap”.
Consumer research for “Bridging the Gap” was supported financially by Cycleurope, Trek, Accell Group, PON and Specialized.
The “Bridging the Gap” project was supported financially by Cycling Industries Europe.
Authors of this study are:
- Anna Buchmann, MotionLab.Berlin, Berlin/Germany and Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh/UK.
- Prof Dr Christof Backhaus, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh/UK
- Marc Anderman, Sports Marketing Surveys, Surrey/UK
- Dr Eoin Plant O’Toole, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh/UK
- Dr Miles Weaver, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh/UK
- Christoph Neye, MotionLab.Berlin, Berlin/Germany
- Dr Geraint Florida-James, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh/UK