August 5, 2021

Industry Insight Outdoor & Bike Add-On

„Welcome to our Industry Insight, giving you a birds-eye view in the most recent developments concerning the Outdoor market. In this edition, we will dive deep into the market developments of Outdoor apparel and will put an emphasis on the market for bicycles, which currently is on fire because of the high demand in the e-bikes sector. In summary, the Outdoor market and all its segments benefitted from the COVID-19 pandemic. This caused a boom in the Outdoor segments and also positively impacted transaction volume. The market for bicycles is heavily governed by the adoption of E-Bikes which are expected to be growing faster than conventional bicycles. The positive impact of the pandemic can also be seen within valuations that during Q2 2020 increased above pre-pandemic levels. Moreover, we expect high growth and low risk in the market.“



Emanuel Müller
Managing Partner


Market Insights

Outdoor Market Overview

Global Market Development
in USD b 2020-2027


U.S. Outdoor Customer Segments
percentage of U.S. outdoor consumers & average yearly spending on equipment

  • We expect that the outdoor market will grow at a sustainable CAGR of 5.8% fueled by distant-friendly activities, such as camping, which during the pandemic witnessed growth of +50% within the E-com sector.
  • Looking at the U.S. market we can identify 7 different customer groups within the outdoor sector which are all driven by different characteristics. However, parallels can primarily be found within the growing preferences for digitalization, urbanization, innovation and increased attention on personal health.
  • Looking at further market research in the outdoor sector, we can determine that similar customer preferences can be witnessed in Europe.


Sources: ktvn (2021), npd (2021), Outdoorindustry (2021)

Market Details & Industry Segments 


Transaction Volume
Number of Transactions in selected months of 2020


Buyer Breakdown
Global in % 2020



  • The comparison of the transaction volumes in 2019 and 2020 shows a little impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the overall M&A activity. We assess that this was flourished by the above-mentioned trends predominantly changing consumer behavior and thus
    changing business focus towards the outdoor industry.
  • Within the comparison of buyers, we can see a wide majority of strategic buyers taking part in transactions to further grow their companies.
  • In light of the ongoing consolidation in the market among strategic buyers, we assess that private equity deals will increase in the upcoming months.


Sources: prnewswire (2021), businessofapps (2021), CNBC (2020), faz (2021)


Observed Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdowns caused the smallest impact on the outdoor sports segment when compared to other sports segments. In fact, we assess that many multi-segment sports retailers could avoid major losses because of the boom in the outdoor sector.

The restructuring and optimizing of supply chains can heavily be witnessed within the outdoor sports industry, comprising apparel but also tools. We have experienced vertical strategic acquisitions in order to integrate production facilities within larger retailers in the outdoor industry. With this, it is partly aimed to mitigate bottlenecks from lockdowns and partly to meet sustainability goals in the future.

Because of urbanization, the outdoor industry struggled to advertise successfully to a big share of people living in cities. However, thanks to the pushes in digitalization in the sector, we experienced most producers pivoting towards video content and E-com presence which allowed them to target a broader customer base.

We have seen a lot of M&A activity in the past few months, underscoring the above-shown trend of predominantly strategic buyers being active in the field. It is assessed that besides the monetary aspects, the synergetic and cultural fit among organizations played a paramount role in driving the witnessed acquisitions.


Sources: Outdoor Industry Compass (2021), Outside Business Journal (2021), Outdoor Industry (2020), Retail Dive (2021), McKinsey (2021)

Bike Market Focus



Global Market Development per Segment
In USD b 2020-2026


  • The overall demand for bicycles has grown steadily up to the start of the pandemic, where it suddenly witnessed sharp increases in popularity. This is in line with the overall trend in the outdoor industry. Therefore, we estimate further growth in the overall market for bicycles.
  • The market for conventional bikes is larger at the beginning of the analyzed period because of lower costs and greater handling simplicity.
  • Nevertheless, we argue that because of wider implementation and the creation of economies of scale, E-Bikes will rise to popularity among the global population. Significant decreases in costs and overall accessibility in the market will strengthen this trend.


Sources: Globesnewswire (2021), Bicycle Association (2021)



European Bicycle Employment
EU-28 Top 5 in number of Jobs created


Number of Registered Units
EU-28 Top 5 in 1.000 units 2017-2019


  • The employment in the bicycle industry is widely spread across Europe with the main 5 countries being Germany, Italy, Portugal, Poland and the Netherlands. Statistics show that employment in the sector will further increase by +200% in the years to come.
  • Reflecting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, bicycle sales, sports and camping items witnessed an increase of around 6.8%, whilst, as a comparison, car sales dropped by around 18% in the first half of 2020.
  • The expected increase in the market is also pictured on the past development of E-Bikes according to 1.000 of units registered. We assess that E-Bikes will continue to grow in line with other E-Mobility vehicles, because of the economies of scale created in the production, allowing for a lower retail price and thus wider adoption in the years to come.

Sources EU Boell (2021), McKinsey (2020)
Note: Other E-Mobility includes Hybrids, BEVs, PHEVs, and Alternatively-powered vehicles (NGV, LPG)


Observed Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic strongly impacted the consumer behavior in its preferences for mobility solutions for both private and business trips. From a private perspective, pre-crisis factors such as “Time to destination”, “Price of trip” and ”space and privacy mattered the most. Post-pandemic we the primary concern has become the ”Risk of infection” with “Time to destination” dropping in preference and “Space and privacy” still being located on the third spot. We can conclude that for private consumers, “Price of trip” has become comparatively irrelevant. From a business commuter perspective, the “Risk of infection” has become the primary concern with “Time to destination” and ”Convenience” getting less important.

Sustainability pushes from governmental mobility solutions have further ignited the demand for bicycles. UN reports link that to reduce global greenhouse emissions, actions to decrease pollution must increase to achieve a cut of approximately 25% of the 2030 predicted scenario.

Before the hit of the pandemic, the sharing economy was on its upwards rally with a 20-35% CAGR. Nevertheless, with “Risk of infection” being the greatest concern for commuters in the past months, the question on the future market development remains open. Assuming the scenario of a broad vaccination scheme and recovery, we assess that the sharing economy will prosper again.

The pandemic has strongly driven the consolidation in the sector with especially large manufacturers acquiring E-bike manufacturers and producers of accessories to “electrify” their current offering. We expect Europe and North America to be the origination for major transactions because of the widely established brands operating in the market. Additionally, we have seen the positive impact of digitalization in the sector, allowing companies like Bike24 to be valued at EUR 322m at its IPO.


Valuation Trends and Developments 

EV/SALES(Next 12 Months)



EV/EBITDA(Next 12 Months)

  • The peer group consists of 33 stock-listed companies in the outdoor apparel, cycling, trekking and camping sectors. For small and mid-sized businesses markdowns of 20-30% can be expected.
  • EV/SALES showed a decreasing trend at the beginning of the analyzed period, which was furthermore supported by the closures in retail caused by the pandemic. Nevertheless, the market recovered quickly after the initial downturn with EV/SALES residing at 2.0x.
  • EV/EBITDA supports the above analysis and points to valuations dropping towards the median in the months to come
  • Among the key performance indicators, low risk and high growth expectations characterize the industry and therefore a slight undervaluation in the market may foster M&A activities within selected opportunities.

Source: Sazun Equity Research, Outdoor & Bike Add-On (2021)

Key Performance Indicators

Selected Latest Deals

Want to know more?


If you would like to learn more about the valuations and deals of your industry, the transaction mentioned above, or generally our way of working, we would certainly be happy to demonstrate our m&a PLUS® principle in a confidential meeting. Of course, we also offer detailed overviews of the vending machines business, bakeries, and travel platforms, where we have strong credentials.
Just get in touch and we will share our experience on how to grow businesses with long-lasting partnerships.

With passion for M&A,
Your SAZUN Team