Women: the key to growing the cycling market
Karen Bliss, VP of Marketing at Advanced Sports International and former professional racing cyclist, tells you what you need to know about the women’s market and how it can help grow your cycling business...
For years I was a skeptic bike racer who thought women-speciﬁc bikes were just marketing hype. After all, I did just ﬁne racing on the same kind of bike my male counterparts rode. As a marketer, I couldn’t bring myself to buy into the message that women needed special bikes. It’s only recently that I recognised the women’s market as truly viable. Not only viable, but the key to growing our business.
Bicycle manufacturers, suppliers and retailers know that the bike industry has been relatively ﬂat over the past few years. The more than 1,000 cycling brands have spent 30 years competing for market-share, not market growth, ﬁghting over the same consumer: the cycling enthusiast.
Sure, there are ardent supporters of women’s racing – I’m one of them – but I’ve accepted that racing is not the part of the market that will help the bicycle industry grow. But where we can and should focus our efforts to grow the size of the pie – and stop focusing on ways to steal a piece of it – is at one of the most under-served and under-appreciated consumers in our industry: non-racing women. And we start by understanding who they are and what they do.
Who they are
Women are inﬂuencers. Women are in charge of their family’s budget. Women’s activities inﬂuence their children’s choices in life, and women encourage their friends to try new things.
What they do
Women use their bikes for transportation, for exercise, for sport, for spending quality time with their children and families, for stress relief, and, most importantly, for fun.
What we do
Our goal is to persuade these women to want to ride bikes. We want them to enjoy bike riding and to share their fun with their friends and family. We want them to be active participants, people who feel involved in and engaged by the bike industry.
How we do it
We focus on three things: product, engagement and support:
- What product does my potential customer need?
- How do I engage my potential customer?
- What support can I provide that will assure my potential customer that she can have that amazing and fun bike-riding experience?
A new golden age
Except, well, there was that time when the bicycle was in- vented, the Golden Age in the 1890s. This is after all a vehicle that famously freed women to break out of their conﬁnes, design better clothes, get out with their friends and really live their own lives. Today, we have so many more options and opportunities for women cyclists. Let’s bring about a new Golden Age.
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Date published: 12 April 2016