Seeing Women as a Growth Market by Melissa Balmer

Note: This is an excerpt from our brand new Pedal Love Storytelling Toolkit Part I which is available to download now for free!

Earlier this year I watched a very interesting trend report webinar hosted by the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition. In the webinar Julia Day Executive Director Business Development at NPD Sports, one of the top sports market research firm, shared that for 2015 bike sales are up 3% but women’s bikes are up 9%. She also called out “urban bikes” a growth market.

There are those who would point out, “well that 9% growth in women’s bikes is still very small in dollar value compared to the overall 3% growth. Okay, I hear you. But imagine what the growth in women’s bikes would be if the industry at large began to take the possible (not yet the actual) casual urban female rider really seriously as a growth market?

This I believe, is how we grow bicycling from a 6.1 billion dollar industry in 2014 to a 60 billion dollar industry in the not too distant future. Actually we embrace all casual bicyclists and not-yet-bicyclists as the opportunity to exponentially grow the market.

Bridget shares on her post for Forbes.com “10 Things Everyone Should Know About Women Consumers” where she notes gender is the most powerful determinant of how we see the world and everything in it.

Let’s think even bigger. What if the influential reach and economic purchasing power of women was harnessed to create safer, more healthy, more vibrant streets for everyone?

This I believe, is how we grow bicycling from a 6.1 billion dollar industry in 2014 to a 60 billion dollar industry in the not too distant future. Actually we embrace all casual bicyclists and not-yet-bicyclists as the opportunity to exponentially grow the market.

For those of you who are still wary of how the consumer market could offer us new ways of moving forward take a listen to Audrey Choi’s 2015 TED@StateStreet Boston talk “How to make a profit while making a difference."

Audrey is the CEO of Morgan Stanley's Institute for Sustainable Investing and a thought leader on how finance can be harnessed to address public policy challenges. Her goal is to make sustainable investing the new normal. She believes by “changing the fables we can change the markets.” Her question to her audience and for all of us? What can’t we tell both the super market and the capitol markets that we care?

Maybe Millennials Can Show Us the Way

Maybe the Millennials and Generation Z can help show us the way.  On the Nielsen Global blog from Nov. 2015 it’s noted that “…a recent Nielsen global online study found that they (Millennials) continue to be most willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings—almost three-out-of-four respondents in the latest findings, up from approximately half in 2014.”

The blog post also notes that “…The rise in the percentage of respondents aged 15 - 20, also known as Generation Z, who are willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact was also strong—up from 55% in 2014 to 72% in 2015.”

From the very beginnings of Pedal Love (initially as Women on Bikes SoCal) I have actively sought connectivity, to promote the talent of, and see the guidance from young women. Two of our key creative advisers, Maria Sipin (above left by Serena Grace) and Machiko Yasuda (below right) illustrate the talent and opportunity of the often misunderstood Millennial generation. Both received scholarships to become LCI’s (League Cycling Instructors) and have become invaluable resources in opening my eyes to fresh thinking and fresh approaches to creatively connecting with new audiences.

It’s been much reported both that both car ownership and car driver-ship are down in the Millennial generation. Each new generation brings its own paradigm shift. As Fast Co.’s Co-Exist blog points out vehicles to freedom and personal identity have changed for this generation, it’s no longer the car, it’s the internet. Both Maria and Machiko do their best to keep me up to date on social media and digital trends including tuning me in to wonderful online tools like Canva.com, the fundraising platform Patreon.com (where we’re looking into crowdfunding to complete this format of our Storytelling Toolkit and polish it to create it in ebook format on Blurb.com.

This is an excerpt from the "Seeing Women as a Growth Market" chapter of our new "Storytelling Toolkit Part I." Download the kit for free now.