Lights & Locks Ahead of the PAC


Recent research by Mintel shows that PACs (bicycle Parts, Accessories and Clothing) were valued at £1.25 billion in 2014, well ahead of the £956 million spent on bikes in the same year. These figures are expected to grow to £1.35 billion for PACs and £1 billion for bikes for the whole of 2015.

Over the past 5 years, sales of PACs have increased by 28%, growing faster than bike sales at 23%. This year, the average spend on PACs by all 15.8 million cyclists is forecast to reach £79, but the 11.85 million who cycle one a month or more often will spend a higher figure of £106 each on PACs this year.

The most likely accessories to have been purchased by UK cyclists in the last 12 months are lights (27%) and locks (26%), followed by puncture repair kits (23%), water bottles (22%) and spanners or multi-tools (13%). Cycle computers and GPS’s were bought by one in ten (11%) of cyclists, but by one in five (21%) of frequent cyclists, who ride most days or at least 2-3 days per week. The same was true of action cameras which were purchased by 8% of all cyclists, but by 16% – twice as many – frequent cyclists.

The most popular items of clothing are helmets (22%), hi-vis jackets (18%), cycling shoes (13%) and cycling tights, shorts or trousers (13%). As with accessories, expenditure rises amongst more frequent cyclists, where the numbers buying shoes rises from the 13% quoted above to 25%, and 33% buy gloves.

Mintel’s research also reveals that inner tubes (32%), brake blocks (19%) chains (21%) and saddles (15%) make up the top five purchases of parts for bike riders. About a quarter (26%) say they buy mainly from a physical store, while one in five (18%) buy mainly online.

Cycling is no longer regarded simply as a cheap means of transport, a bicycle is now regarded as a lifestyle accessory, an expression of an individual in the same way as driving a premium sports car or belonging to a golf club. This is positive news for accessory suppliers, because it means that many of their potential customers are not buying on price alone, instead brand, quality and product features are also key factors influencing purchase. Ahead, the prospects for the market look extremely positive, given the expected easing of pressure on household incomes and the expectation of further growth in cycling participation levels” explained Michael Oliver, Senior Leisure and Media Analyst at Mintel.

It is still the case that more men (41%) cycle than women (31%), making a total of 36% of the population who cycle at some time. But the number of women cycling is gaining pace, up from 24% a year ago, which is a good sign, and helps contribute to the statistic that one in twenty Brits rides every day and one in five cycle mainly at the weekend.

Perhaps not surprisingly considering the high level of bike thefts, 15% of cyclists say that they have had a bike stolen in the past, with people living in towns more likely to have been victims of bike theft. Frighteningly, one in 10 (9%) say that they have been knocked off their bike by another vehicle in the past year, with this figure rising to 15% in London. Despite this, less than four in ten (38%) current cyclists usually wear a helmet when they cycle. Female cyclists (43%) are more likely than male cyclists (34%) to use helmets. Meanwhile, less than a quarter (23%) of current cyclists usually wear high visibility clothing when they cycle.

Fewer than half of all cyclists wear a helmet, despite cycling safety having been in the news so much in recent years as a result of a number of high-profile fatal accidents. Indeed, nearly one in 10 cyclists have been knocked off of their bicycle by another vehicle in the past, underlining the case for cyclists to wear helmets and also to take whatever precautions they can by wearing hi-vis clothing and using lights to make themselves as visible as possible when riding.” Michael concludes.

Of course, if we had high quality cycling infrastructure, such as in the Netherlands, with good separation of cyclists and motorised traffic, there would be much less need for the hi-vis and helmet approach. Heard that argument somewhere before?!


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