A newly launched website from a Manchester-based startup selling motorbike helmets has been making waves recently. With a market that is saturated and already well-served by multiple different companies in the motorcycle accessories space, is there room for another contender?
While the rest of the motorcycle retail industry is migrating rapidly to eCommerce, motorbike helmets are one item that bikers often like to try on in person before taking the plunge and making a purchase. Perhaps this is one reason why physical motorbike supermarkets, with permanent retail premises, remain popular and haven’t gone the way of Blockbusters.
Looking at the bigger picture, there are 1.1 million motorcycles registered in the UK according to the department for transport. Furthermore, a 2015 freedom of information request revealed there are just over 500,000 full motorbike license holders in the UK, and with every one of those bikers being legally required to ride with a helmet, there is a large market for companies to take advantage of.
To understand these trends we spoke to the startup company’s employees. “We’ve seen that there is a largely untapped opportunity for eCommerce in the helmet space”, says Tony Walker at BuyHelmets.online. “There’s definitely room out there for a specialist motorbike helmet retailer online.”
The benefits of eCommerce over traditional retail are by now widely understood. With lower operating costs, higher profit margins due to wholesale stock acquisition, 24/7 opening hours, and the potentially limitless online market, eCommerce is a retail powerhouse and is certainly here to stay.
Online retail is still showing strong growth with growth in online sales set to surpass $4.9 trillion for the first time by 2021 according to a Statista report. This is represented in the stock market with Amazon recently becoming the world’s most valuable listed company, but closer to home we see similar growth in Britain – the business to consumer eCommerce turnover in the UK has recently grown to 13.7 billion pounds.
But will bikers make the leap online when buying helmets? “We know now that growing consumer confidence in digital has made a significant difference when we look at online retail”, says Tony Walker from the company. Indeed, many people reading this article will themselves have purchased clothes online recently.
“That’s very true”, says Tony. “The bottom line is that nowadays, most people wouldn’t think twice about buying a fit-sensitive item like a motorcycle helmet online.”
But what about repeat buyers? “A large percentage of motorbike helmet buyers are actually just looking to repurchase a helmet, who we call repeat buyers”, which of course is good news for online helmet shops. “Their old helmet may have become worn out, or been damaged, in which case the customer already knows the correct fit.”
This all points to strong growth in the future for motorbike helmet sales. Would you consider buying your next helmet online? A big tipping point could come when we look at prices. Because of lower overheads, online retailers can usually beat the high street on matters of cost. Ultimately, time will tell but with a continuingly challenged retail sector, online sales could yet prove to be the big winner.