Trails to Sales Survey
Bikes Belong’s investment in federal advocacy has helped gain more than $1 billion for bicycling in the U.S. transportation bill since 1998. And our grassroots grants to communities have insured that bicycling projects are being funded with these federal dollars on the local level. The bicycle industry is reaping the benefits.
We wanted to confirm that new bicycle trails lead to increased sales at nearby bike shops. So we took a survey of bicycle retailers and commissioned the A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research to conduct a poll on our behalf.
Bicycle retailers told us.
During 2006, Bikes Belong conducted a nationwide online survey of nearly 100 U.S. bicycle retailers whose shops are near newly constructed bike paths and trails. We asked them how these facilities affected their businesses, and whether they believe bike paths and trails boost bike sales in general. Here’s what they told us:
- Nearly 60% of bike shop owners surveyed said the new bike paths and trails near their shops have had a positive impact on bike and equipment sales at their stores.
- Almost 20% of those respondents said their sales increased by 10–25% as a result of the new trails, and another 7% estimated that their sales have increased 50% or more since the trails or paths were completed.
- Speaking generally, 85% of retailers polled said they believe that paths and trails increase bike and equipment sales at bike shops nationwide, and 45% believe sales increase dramatically in areas where new paths and trails are built.
Individual cyclists told us.
A spring 2006 Harris survey commissioned by the A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research (at Bikes Belong’s request) polled 1,000 men and women in 14 U.S. cities where new bike paths and trails have been built during the previous four years. Half of those respondents own bikes and were familiar with their area trails. Here are some highlights:
- One third of the trail users reported that they bike more often since they’ve become aware of new trails in their area.
- 15% of the trail users surveyed said their spending on bikes and accessories has increased since the new trails were built.
- Survey respondents who purchased bikes after they became aware of new trails in their area spent roughly $100 more, on average, than people who bought bikes before the trails were built.
Here's what U.S. retailers say about how trails affect sales:
"Prior to the opening of the paved bike trail, I employed two part-time workers and consistently grossed $225,000 per year. The year the trail opened, I had to move to a larger facility to meet consumer demand, now I hire one full-time employee and four part-time employees and consistently gross $450,000 in sales. The growth of my business is directly related to my investment of time to create these facilities." —Mississippi Retailer
"The trail near my store has had a positive effect on the number of cyclists in my area. Older people who have not cycled in years are taking it up once more, families are finding the trail a great place to recreate together, and avid cyclists incorporate it as part of longer rides. From my perspective, the trails impact is huge. Trails are getting “regular” people onto bikes. Most of these people will never wear brightly colored spandex or buy $1,000 bikes, but they are the masses and are key to the health of our industry. These cyclists vote, they support their local shop, and they are passing the joy of cycling on to their children and grandchildren." —New York Retailer
"We have a wildly successful greenway trail near our store. Not a day goes by that we don’t talk to at least one customer about this particular biking amenity. We also have eight miles of mountain bike trails that are heavily used by almost every mountain biker in our area. Both of these trails dramatically affect our sales in a positive way." —Indiana Retailer
"We have many, many miles of paved trails winding through parks and around the city. This makes the metro area a destination spot for tourists. We are already seeing it. If it weren’t for these trails, I am not sure the shop would still be in business. Most of the bikes we sell are hybrid and/or comfort bikes." —Iowa Retailer
"Not only have we seen a significant increase in sales, but we have seen a number of seriously overweight customers using their bikes to help them lose weight and get in shape." —Pennsylvania Retailer
"Many bike sales here happen because the individual needs a commuter bike. These commuters use the fairly new bike paths connecting the suburbs to the downtown community. Without these bike paths, the opportunity for the individual to commute via bicycle would not exist, and the bike sale would not exist either." —California Retailer
"The simplest success story is that by making it easier for folks to ride rather than drive, the bike shop sells more bike commuter gear in the form of locks, fenders, jackets, helmets. . . occasionally even the urban commuter bike. Improved local conditions for on- and off-road riding make going on bike rides out the front door easier and help sell the nice equipment to serious enthusiasts." —California Retailer