The predominant market segment for University Cycle Works is the university student population. We also cater to the university staff, local business employees, and, along with every other bicycle shop in town, the greater Metroburg population.
In part the local market is driven by the lack of parking. Bicycle transportation is more economical, as well as time and space efficient in the university neighborhood. Part of the market is price constrained and another part is hooked on the latest fad, be it frame style, number of gears, or portrayed image. As long as new students arrive each year at the State University at Metroburg, our market segment growth is assured.
The university students are our main target market.
University employees are another prime market segment.
Greater Metroburg population.
This segment has a choice of going to any bike shop in Metroburg, and will probably choose a shop located closer to their home. They are not the main target market segment of University Cycle Works, and we market to them casually, only as a collateral effect to our university-oriented efforts.
We've chosen our target market segments, the greater university population because:
Trends in the bicycle industry usually last for a time. Some of them have been:
The bulk of University Cycle Works' market growth is the regular matriculation of students from the State University in Metroburg. While the overall market numbers change in small increments, usually less than 10%, the market has a turnover of 22-26% yearly. In a longer time frame the number of students and the number of university employees grows and shrinks with economic changes, and with population demographics.
For the next three years we foresee a slow but steady growth in the overall university population as well as continued growth of Metroburg as a desirable place to live.
Our market niche has several needs which we strive to meet:
The bicycle industry is a world wide concern. The Pacific Rim is a huge producer of framesets, components, tires, and accessories. European countries have a long and honored tradition of producing the finest in road touring and racing bikes and parts. The United States has probably the largest number of producers of high-tech, exotic metal, jewelry components, and handbuilt custom framesets.
Transportation of all these various pieces and fully assembled bikes across continents and oceans brings the industry its international flavor. It also adds a certain cost all products. Interestingly enough, some of the least expensive bicycles are imported from the People's Republic of China, and some of the most outrageously expensive pieces are made in the U.S. and are handbuilt at a small shop that uses CNC machining to make titanium bolt, nut, and screw sets for the bike nob who wants to reduce the weight of his bike that last 143 grams.
Setting aside the discount department stores, University Cycle Works has the following direct competitors.
None of these competitors is within two miles of the university, and so, for the present, we have first access to our chosen market segments. One of the local shops has chosen to target the burgeoning young road racer segment, another is focusing on recumbents and folding travel cycles.
The two strongest competitors are the Oldest Shop in Town which carries the cache of being the most stable, and most well known -- a Metroburg institution. The Mountain Bike Specialist targets the same athletic, young, performance and image conscious rider that we target in the university student population. These cyclists are particular about their bike and will go where the name brand they want is sold, or will try every bike and then buy the one that fits best, regardless of store loyalty.
The bicycle industry has many players large and small all over the world. A few are listed below.
Big bicycle manufactures
Big component manufacturers
Big accessory distributors
Mail order/Online companies who began selling through the mail and now have extensive Web presence as well. They offer great prices, but no installation or services.
Discount stores are the usual outlet for Huffy bikes in several guises. These are the $100 bikes which are assembled by minimally trained clerks, and frequently end up at specialty shops being reassembled and serviced for the owners. The price bargain usually isn't by the time the bike rides well and safely.
Specialty bike store such as University Cycle Works, where bicycles are our focus and passion. Trained and knowledgeable sales people, service techs, and avid riders in their own right.
Custom frame builders, smaller specialized manufacturers of folding bikes, tandems, trailers, racing bikes, and custom components.