Our product range consists of bicycles and bicycle parts and accessories. The highly complementary combination of the two product groups strengthens our client proposition and facilitates cross-selling.
Consumers who buy one of our bikes can add accessories to personalise their bike. These accessories range from children’s seats, bike locks, luggage racks to navigation systems and cycling computers. Bicycles are often used intensively and this increases the sales of various parts such as tyres, lighting, derailleurs and chains that are subject to wear and tear. The growing popularity of e-bikes has also led to an increase in demand for more complex parts such as batteries, chargers and motors.
On the bicycle front, we handle everything from development and design, purchasing and assembly and distribution and sales, while bicycle parts and accessories is primarily a trading activity.
We operate various national bicycle brands to respond to the differences in popularity, preferences and tastes that exist between countries. There are also clear differences in the perception of price, quality and service between the various countries we operate in. When it comes to our international (high-end) sports brands, consumer preferences and tastes are much more universal.
Our brands offer collections that respond as closely as possible to the preferences and wishes of consumers. They are distinctive in terms of design and innovation, which means we are able to surprise consumers time and again.
The bicycle industry has a fixed seasonal pattern that may nevertheless vary per country. In Europe and North America, our primary markets, the bicycle season starts with the major introduction of the new collections in the months of July through September and the first deliveries for the shop floors from September through December/January. Consumer sales peak in the period from February through August, with differences per bicycle type and depending on the weather conditions.
Development and design
A bicycle is a lifestyle product and our bicycles stand out thanks to design and innovation. Bicycles are also increasingly a high-tech product and therefore ever more complex. We are constantly working on new applications in the field of performance enhancement by using new, more light-weight and more efficient materials. We are also working on the integration of components and accessories in the frame, as well as on increasing the functionality of our bicycles by making use of the opportunities created by the Internet of Things. Accell Group has various ongoing innovation and development programmes, both for bicycles as a product and for bicycle use. These programmes are an opportunity for us to make use of the insights we gain from consumers and whenever possible we involve them in the development process, for instance in the testing of prototypes.
Procurement and production
We use professional and high-quality suppliers in Europe and Asia for the procurement of materials. Our own production is focused on assembly and spray painting. Around 65% of the bicycles we sell are finished at our own production plants. We have a number of large-scale production hubs complemented by local production facilities. The remaining 35% of the bicycles we sell are purchased as ready-made products. This includes all bicycles for the North American market (we have no bicycle production facilities in North America) and primarily children’s bikes and basic models for the European market.
Sales and distribution
Consumers must be able to find our bicycles where they expect to find them and be able to buy them in what they consider the best and most convenient manner. We are therefore working on an omni-channel sales model, with the specialist retail trade playing a crucial role. We are not concerned about whether consumers buy via a webshop or in a physical store. What matters is that we provide consumers with the highest levels of service and ensure that prices are fair and comparable across all channels.
Bicycle parts and accessories
Brand experience is less marked among consumers when it comes to bicycle parts and accessories than for bicycles, with the exception of parts in the top segment of the market. We focus strongly on our own private label XLC, which we supplement with (top) brands from third parties.
Our product range includes approximately 85,000 different items in the long tail and this range covers all the key price points.
Sales of bicycle parts and accessories are relatively flat when compared to bicycles. The season runs roughly from February through November, with clear differences between countries and markets.
Development and design
Product innovation plays a modest role in the strategy for our own brand XLC. However, we constantly adapt parts and accessories to meet the product and design innovations at our bicycle brands. Specific product categories in the accessories range, such as helmets, clothing, bicycle racks, child trailers and bags do have their own distinctive style and design.
The products sold under our own XLC brand are always selected in-house and also partly designed in-house. We frequently collaborate with suppliers we also use for other bicycle parts and accessories for either assembly or sales on the consumer market. This enables us to safeguard the high quality requirements we set for all XLC products.
Distribution and sales
We focus primarily on the European market. We have our own sales organisation and advanced distribution centres in 11 countries, which together form a comprehensive network in the north, west and south of Europe. This enables us to supply our clients quickly, which is a key distinguishing factor in this market. While most consumer sales are still via specialist bicycle and sports stores, we are seeing a steady increase in the number of sales via webshops. So in effect we are shifting more and more towards an omni-channel sales approach for our bicycle parts and accessories business, just as we are on the bicycles front.