I am writing with the hope that you may be able to assist. I am currently completing an MBA with Auckland University, New Zealand. As part of our course curriculum I am undertaking a strategy project around internationalization. I have been given a product and are looking for potential markets within Canada The product relates to a safety vest designed for Cyclists (attached) which provides continuous light in poor or no lighting conditions.
There are a few questions we are hoping that you can assist. It would be greatly appreciated if you can give us an insight into the cycling culture in Canada as follows:
1)Is there a sense in Canada that there are requirements/needs for further safety products for bike riders?
2)Your thoughts of the attached product? Is this something at interest you?
Here is a youtube link on the product, Please ignore the pricing. I know there is a rule in the forum regarding selling stuff. I just like say that this is a research project and Iíve absolutely no commercial interest in this. and this is not a scam too
I live in the Vancouver area. Some people might disagree but I think the Canadian market is very small with a limited potential for growth.
For at least 6 months a year the cycling market is flat flat flat. If you are looking for a market then you should look at the work place safety aspect.
Perhaps they could break into the market in that area first.
A few years ago a similar product was launched in the U.S. but I have yet to see any of their products here.
Hi redbike72, thank you for your feedback. Does people bike at night at all in Vancouver?
We are looking into USA at the same but we saw some article saying that the cycling community is growing in Canada, so we thought there might be some potential here.
On the whole I would say that most people do not ride after dark. There may be a few hard core cyclists riding in the dark but likely too few to make a market.
In the last few months I can remember seeing one or two cyclists after sunset. Perhaps someone who lives near the city core or the University would have a better idea of the total numbers.
You may want to see if there is an opportunity to market them to Baby Boomers who are walking for fitness.
I see more and more people wearing construction reflective clothing while they walk....
It was still -34c this morning in Winnipeg so that might give you an idea of the typical Canadian cycling weather.
Darkness comes at 4:00pm at this latitude in the (mild West Coast) winter, so there are plenty of commuting riders in darkness and low light. I am a professional driver who bike-commutes to work, so I see things from both sides. I would stay away from anything that pulsates - it tends to be distracting and annoying. (Small blinky lights are fine). As a trucker, I expect to see lights from the usual places - handlebar height (aim it down, please!) and from the rear, fender height. Gimmicky lights such as z-z-pop! are just annoying (think bull, red flag). This vest in particular does not say 'vehicle' - is says 'what the hell is that? Interestingly, the thing that grabs my attention most on dark streets are the old-fashioned reflector pedals! Who knew?
So yes, there is great interest in being seen at night, but I don't think a self-lit vest is any more visible than a reflective vest in traffic. Also consider the nerd factor.
The demographic doesn't look good either - most bike commuters are price-sensitive, to say the least. At your price point, globally your customer base is a minority within a minority within a minority: White people -> socially-conscious white people -> wealthy socially-conscious white people (you know, the ones that pay three times as much for organic, fair-trade, conflict-free, shade-grown, free-range, gluten-free, recycled...). The rest of the world aspires to buying a car.
The other day I saw a Patagonia T-shirt for a toddler selling for 35.00. It had a slogan on the front. It said "Live Simple'. THESE are the kind of people who pay two hundred dollars for a vest. Unfortunately, they are a tiny market.