Bicycling is a very popular industry in British Columbia. The province boasts 25% of all cycling specialty stores in Canada. The bicycle industry is a diverse industry and includes activities such as bicycle retailing and repair, and the manufacturing of bicycles and bicycle parts and accessories. This industry overview will cover the motorcycle and bicycle manufacturing landscape in Canada, as well as the wider North American bicycle retail shop industry.
- Slow Growth: The global motorcycle and bicycle market grew at an annualized rate of 1.62% from 2016-2021. Motorcycles and bicycles make up the third largest segment of the motor vehicles market, behind commercial vehicles and passenger cars (BCC Research, Motorcycle and Bicycle Global Briefing, 2022).
- Good Outlook: The global motorcycle and bicycle market is expected to grow at a compound annualized growth rate of 8.1% over the four years to 2026 due to technological innovations and economic growth in emerging markets (BCC Research, Motorcycle and Bicycle Global Briefing, 2022).
- Razor-Thin Margins: Small and medium-sized retailers in North America face high, steady barriers to entry and the prospect of low revenue growth (Thomas, Bicycle Dealership and Repair in the US, 2021).
- Motorcycle Manufacturing: Motorcycles marketed to older Canadians are expected to carry Canada’s motorcycle and bicycle manufacturing industry revenue, though the lack of production within Canada hurts revenue for domestic businesses (McGrath, Motorcycle and Bicycle Manufacturing in Canada, 2021).
- Consumer Preferences: Bikes provided a safe outdoor activity for Canadians during the pandemic, and an outlet for health-conscious consumers (Mazerolle, 2021).
- Government Rebates: In British Columbia, the BikeBC initiative offers significant rebates for both consumers and individuals choosing active transportation via e-bike (BCGov, Active Transportation Funding).
Industry Performance Snapshot
- Global retail sales of motorcycles and bicycles grew from $61.9 billion USD to $67.08 billion USD (BCC Research, Motorcycle and Bicycle Global Briefing, 2022).
- The gap in Canada’s motorcycle and bicycle manufacturing industry, due to Raleigh Bicycles’ 2012 departure, was filled by custom and high-end small manufacturers (McGrath, Motorcycle and Bicycle Manufacturing in Canada, 2021).
- Industry revenue for Canada’s motorcycle and bicycle manufacturing industry declined at an annualized rate of 11.3% due to a similar decline in industry exports (McGrath, Motorcycle and Bicycle Manufacturing in Canada, 2021).
- The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying decline in consumer confidence and spending eroded revenue severely in 2020, despite a 9.9$ growth in 2021 due to increased demand for manufactured parts from the U.S. (McGrath, Motorcycle and Bicycle Manufacturing in Canada, 2021).
- On the retail side, industry revenue from bicycle dealerships and repair in the U.S. increased an annualized 1.6% to $6.6 million USD (Thomas, Bicycle Dealership and Repair in the US, 2021).
- In 2021, mountain bicycles accounted for the largest share of bicycle shop sales, representing 31.0% of total sales, followed by road bicycles, hybrid bicycles, and lifestyle bicycles including beach cruisers. E-bikes represented 11.6% of total sales. (Thomas, Bicycle Dealership and Repair in the US, 2021).
Source: Thomas, B. (2021, October). Bicycle Dealership and Repair in the US / US INDUSTRY (NAICS) REPORT 44122B / RETAIL TRADE. IBISWorld. Retrieved from IBISWorld database.
For the period 2022-2026:
- Industry revenue in the Canadian motorcycle and bicycle manufacturing industry is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 1.6 to $819.6 million to 2026 (McGrath, Motorcycle and Bicycle Manufacturing in Canada, 2021).
- The industry’s reliance on motorcycle sales will be spurred by BRP’s Can-Am Spyder Roadster, the three-wheel design of which appeals to older Canadians with high household incomes. The demographic and economic trends in Canada will favor these sales (McGrath, Motorcycle and Bicycle Manufacturing in Canada, 2021).
- Industry imports will continue to increase an annualized 0.6% to $1.6 billion as domestic demand for high-end and custom products improves. Smaller manufacturers will face stiffening competition from these imports (McGrath, Motorcycle and Bicycle Manufacturing in Canada, 2021).
- On the retail side, growth in per capita disposable income, higher consumer activity, and a heightened demand for industry products and services will drive retail sales ((Thomas, Bicycle Dealership and Repair in the US, 2021).
- Eco-conscious, greening, and health trends will continue to drive citizens and government to work together in making British Columbia’s cities walkable and bikeable, and ensure that cycling is a safe and reliable method of transportation (City of Vancouver, Greenways).
Source: Tighe, D. (2021). Number of cycling equipment and supplies stores in Canada by region in 2021. StatCan. Retrieved from Statista database.
In 2021, British Columbia had the third-highest concentration of cycling and cycling equipment stores, behind only Quebec and Ontario. BC boasted 140 total cycling stores.
Industry Trends and Challenges
Eco-friendly and health-conscious consumers
- The 2010s saw an increase in health awareness among Canadian consumers, peaking during the COVID-19 pandemic with continued social; distance regulations and a widespread avoidance of public transit (Bula, 2020).
- Many Canadians who began commuting by bicycle during the pandemic have continued to do so, as it provides a reliable way of integrating physical activity into their daily routine (BC Cycling Coalition).
- Neighborhoods that support active transportation are associated with reduced obesity and air pollution; one study found that a “5% increase in walkability was associated with a 32.1% increase in active transportation” (BC Cycling Coalition).
- The findings of these studies are reflected in government policy and consumer support; the BC Ministry of Health’s Healthy Families BC Policy Action Framework supports healthy living and healthy communities as one of its four pillars (BC Ministry of Health, 2017).
Growing popularity of e-bikes
- The Global Electric Bikes Market was valued at $16.88 billion USD in 2018 and is projected to grow at a compound annualized rate of 8.9% to reach $32.83 billion USD by 2026 (BCC Research Center, Global E-bike Market, 2019).
- This exponential growth is due to e-bikes’ successful transition from a niche luxury item to an integral mode of transportation for many (Yakub, 2022).
- Consumers perceive e-bikes as an ideal substitute for smart cars, scooters, and public transportation. Consumers especially appreciate that e-bikes can attain high speeds with minimum effort, making them perfect for commuting. (Globe Newswire, 2022).
- Bicycle manufacturing in Canada already relies upon several first- and second-level tier supplying industries, including paint manufacturing, tire manufacturing, structural metal product manufacturing, and air and rail transportation (McGrath, Motorcycle and Bicycle Manufacturing in Canada, 2021) ; with the growing popularity of e-bikes in the market, manufacturers’ finished products will also rely on the availability and manufacturing of lithium ion batteries.
- Cycling associations across BC and Canada are promoting healthy, walkable cities and advocating for health-conscious consumers through outreach, education, and strategy. A
- Among these are HUB Cycling’s Cycling Priorities List (HUB Cycling, 2022) and BC Cycling Coalition’s work on transportation policy and e-bike rebates (BC Cycling Coalition, 2022).
- Government action on these initiatives has led to the creation of GoByBikeBC, a two-week-long annual event that aims to educate consumers on the health benefits of cycling and reduce emissions (GoByBikeBC, 2022).
- A partnership between SFU, McGill, University of Toronto, and the Clean Air Partnership enumerated ten key actions for building a cycling culture in Canada’s metropolitan areas, including sparking cycling adoption, addressing weather and terrain, using data to identify benefits, and building a lifelong love of cycling in citizens (Verlinden, 2019).
- Manufacturers and retailers should build upon these recommendations to foster brand loyalty and a dedicated clientele, ideally by partnering with programs supporting cycling and participating in advocacy (Verlinden, 2019).
Technological innovation and competition from mass merchandisers
- Lyft and bike-sharing systems are gaining in popularity, especially in metropolitan areas where riders often take shorter trips. These platforms reduce the costs of owning and maintaining a bicycle but cut into bicycle retailers’ profits (Thomas, Bicycle Dealerships and Repair in the US, 2021).
- Though technological innovation in bicycle retail shops themselves is low, smaller retailers often take longer to adopt technology like point-of-sale systems and inventory management systems due to the costs involved (Thomas, Bicycle Dealerships and Repair in the US, 2021).
- The Canadian motorcycle and bicycle manufacturing industry is made up of smaller manufacturers who do not mass-produce bicycle models; a depreciating Canadian dollar and increased importation leave this sector of the industry vulnerable to imported and mass-produced merchandise often sold at a lower price (McGrath, Motorcycle and Bicycle Manufacturing in Canada, 2022).
For a more in-depth look at secondary market research for the bicycle industry, including:
- how to find info on the industry from sources including library databases, government websites, trade journals, and even podcasts,
- how to write a business plan, including examples and templates,
- why knowing your customer is important to your success,
...visit our newly revised Bicycle Business Industry Guide!
Good luck with building your business, and happy cycling!
BC Cycling Coalition. (n.d.). Cycling to Health. Retrieved August 14, 2022, from https://bccycling.ca/cycling-to-health
BC Cycling Coalition. (n.d.). Road to Active Transportation. BC Cycling Coalition. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://bccycling.ca/about-active-transportation
Bula, F. (2020, May 24). Bike sales surge as Canadians leave their cars at home. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-bike-sales-surge-as-canadians-leave-their-cars-at-home/
City of Vancouver. (2022). Greenways: Making Vancouver a more walkable, bikable city. City of Vancouver. Retrieved from City of Vancouver’s Open Data Portal. Retrieved from https://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/greenways-for-walking-and-cycling.aspx
GoByBikeBC. (n.d.). GoByBike BC | Register Now! Retrieved August 14, 2022, from https://gobybikebc.ca/
HUB Cycling. (n.d.). Cycling Priorities | HUB Cycling: Bike Events, Education, Action in Metro Vancouver. Retrieved August 14, 2022, from https://bikehub.ca/about-us/cycling-priorities
Mazerolle, J. (2021, March 21). Great COVID-19 bicycle boom expected to keep bike industry on its toes for years to come. CBC News. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bicycle-boom-industry-turmoil-covid-19-1.5956400
McGrath, S. (2021, September). Motorcycle, Bike & Parts Manufacturing in Canada / CANADA INDUSTRY (NAICS) REPORT 33699ACA / MANUFACTURING IN CANADA. IBISWorld. Retrieved from IBISWorld database. Retrieved from https://my.ibisworld.com/ca/en/industry/33699aca/industry-at-a-glance
Province of British Columbia. (n.d.). Active transportation funding for individuals and businesses—Province of British Columbia. Province of British Columbia. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/transportation-environment/active-transportation/funding/individuals-business
Precedence Research. (2022, February 7). E-bike Market Size to Worth Around US$ 40.98 Billion by 2030. GlobeNewswire News Room. Retrieved from https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2022/02/07/2380421/0/en/E-bike-Market-Size-to-Worth-Around-US-40-98-Billion-by-2030.html
Tighe, D. (2021). Number of cycling equipment and supplies stores in Canada by region in 2021. StatCan. Retrieved from Statista database.
Thomas, B. (2021, October). Bicycle Dealership and Repair in the US / US INDUSTRY (NAICS) REPORT 44122B / RETAIL TRADE. IBISWorld. Retrieved from IBISWorld database. Retrieved from https://my.ibisworld.com/us/en/industry/44122b/industry-at-a-glance
TBRC (2022, May). Motorcycle and Bicycle Market Global Briefing 2022. [Report Code MKB445E]. Retrieved from BCC Research Centre database. Retrieved from https://www-bccresearch-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/partners/tbrc-market-briefs/motorcycle-and-bicycle-market-global-briefing.html
Verified Market Research. (2019, November). Global E-Bike Market Size and Growth Forecast 2026. [Report Code VMF018A]. Retrieved from BCC Research Centre database. Retrieved from
Yakub, M. (2022, June 3). Growing e-bike popularity in Canada takes the spotlight on World Bike Day. Electric Autonomy Canada. Retrieved from https://electricautonomy.ca/2022/06/03/e-bike-canada-world-bike-day/