The Global Bicycle Market – Resilient Despite All Round Technological Progress

The bicycle is a remarkable invention of the industrial period. Since the invention of Laufmaschine in 1817, it gained prominence. It is the forerunner of the present-day bicycle. It has demonstrated substantial endurance by enchanting every generation, even though the vehicle has undergone only a few technological modifications. The distinctiveness of its simple structure and utility has been well preserved irrespective of a plethora of innovations and technological advancements around the world, has been able to maintain its simple structure and utility. The bicycle has not become obsolete even though it has been invented over 200 years ago, and is still in use by a majority of individuals across the world and is acknowledged as one of the main modes of transport. 

bicycle market

However, the bicycle also is a subject for research, an epitome of lifestyles and values, an embodiment of how technology can adapt to societal transitions, a utility for sports, a symbol of status, a plaything, a statement of political nature, and a hobby, besides being means of transportation. Moreover, new fashion trends have been led by the bicycle which has also effectuated novel cultural associations, by successfully altering its social image despite the crests and troughs which the bicycle has experienced over time.  Further, it has succeeded in altering its social image and pave the way for new fashions with novel cultural associations, despite the crests and troughs which the bicycle has experienced over time.

In view of certain aspects bicycle has high visibility in the western world which has been evidenced by the prominent cities in Europe that have publicly promoted bicycle as one of the means to combat traffic congestion which in turn would address issues such as air pollution and prevent health problems. Conversely, the vehicle has been increasingly linked with varied identities that were cultural and political. Such association has been the product of the view of both adversaries and supporters of the vehicle. In other words, while the bicycle has been in the forefront of political disseminations and urban schemes, it experiences near invisibility and social disconnectedness which is akin to the experience of those that comprised of being methodically neglected by the larger mass.

The urban areas are an example of this kind of scenario which is oft marked by occasional and discontinuous infrastructural solutions, coupled with the behavior of more dominant modes of mobility. Concomitantly, the same extent of industrial innovation publicity that is somewhat the norm of the automobile industry has not been the case with the bicycle, despite being the product of technological innovation. In spite of the aforementioned, the global bicycle market is anticipated to reach stratospheric height during the forecast period.  The situation at present suggests a polarization between component manufactures (which are best equipped to survive and are most likely to prosper) and assemblers, within the bicycle industry in the coming years. An eventuality is the emergence of the supposed mega-suppliers in various industries, including the bicycle sector.

Big firms manufacturing and assembling entire modular packages such as the transmission system, the wheel system, the front, and rear suspension, and the brake system, are known as mega-suppliers. Their approach mega suppliers are different from that of traditional supplier of bicycle components due to three reasons: an integrated system comprising of a variety of components is built, instead of supplying a select few single pieces which shape the current and new standards within the bicycle industry; their likelihood of leading the industry in the technological innovation because their size allows them to invest in R&D to facilitate the concentration of the bicycle innovation locus in a limited number of firms.  This would enable them to employ ingredient-branding as a means for direct advertisement intended for end-users who would be inclined to look-up bicycles that are assembled with a particular brand of components. Besides the capabilities of the bicycle industry are progressively transitioning to large component manufacturers away from assemblers towards the. 

Shimano which is a Japanese firm and SRAM which is a US firm are two mega-suppliers in the bicycle industry of the world at present. An Italian company called Campagnolo may be reckoned as a possible mega-supplier, despite the size of the firm is smaller than its competitors. The emergence of a large market for both pedal electric cycles, or pedelecs, and electric bicycles is another driving factor for the growth of mega-suppliers. The later versions are those that can be set in locomotion without the need for pedaling and the preceding various comprise those which were equipped with electric motors to assist riders. These new developments are surging in many nations around the world. Additionally, they have been a growing interest to provide bicycle assemblers who are generally reliant on technology developed by other entities, from electric motors products manufacturers.

Further, one of the key determinants which have sustained the bicycle market through the ebbs and flow over time has been marketing strategies. The bicycle industry during the early 1900s two broad parameters (a) demographic and (b) behavioral characteristics. The previous paradigm depended up upon age, anthropometric measures, and gender, as specific parameters.  The two more variables which were bicycle usage and price sensitivity were used under the parameter (b). It can be said that as a consequence of the steps these criteria have been employed to segment the market. The first step comprised the employment of the parameter gender to segregate two segments: female and male customers.  Subsequently, the grouping of four new segments: adult female customers, adult male customers, children female customers, and children male customers, were brought about by adding the variable age to the second step.  

A behavioral characteristic, which is the bicycle usage to identify new segments of customers was the third step. The main uses of bicycles were transportation, leisure, and racing. Commuters, racers, and tourists are the specific categories of consumers to whom this characteristic was linked. Racers were further subdivided into road and track racers. A fragmented list of new segments could be exemplified by adult male commuters, adult male road racers, adult male tourists, and adult male track racers. The fourth step in market segmentation was to examine the price sensitivity of customers. Further, the bicycle industry used a price range to take into account the socioeconomic conditions of customers and develop offerings consistent with what each market segment could afford to buy. The last step in segmenting the market comprised the employment of anthropometric measures.