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National Survey of Cruising - Order Form (PDF)
National Survey of Cruising - Order Form (Word)
The initial concept of this project was to gain an understanding of the cruise market, the businesses serving it and the cruisers themselves.
From the survey of cruisers conducted, interviews, vox pops at cruises and extensive discussions held within online cruise club forums, it is clearly evident that the drive to express and demonstrate individuality underpins the cruising movement.
The Cruise market is fashion led, increasingly price sensitive and dominated by established brands, making market entry difficult for companies wishing to enter or diversify into it. There is also evidence that the market is self-limiting in nature, in that as cruising becomes more mainstream its attraction diminishes for some cruisers. Significantly 66% of businesses did not forecast growth over the next three years, potentially indicating the market maybe nearing its peak.
Income levels linked to age appear to have created distinct sub sects within the cruising scene. Lower incomes leading younger cruisers to modify the appearance of their cars to express their individuality, but without increasing performance, thereby minimising the effect on their insurance premiums. Older cruisers with higher disposable incomes, are able to afford both aesthetic and performance modifications.
As the project developed some of the research techniques utilised proved ineffective due to the characteristics of the sector; the fact that the cruising community is so close knit and the deep suspicions cruisers harbour towards any external approaches.
Although these problems were eventually overcome the almost 'underground' nature of the cruising scene, which is part of its attraction for participants, continues to pose difficulties for those attempting to market to it. This issue is further complicated by businesses that operate in markets besides Cruising, such as Modified Cars, as often they do not account accurately for sales by specific market sectors such as Cruising.
The majority of responding businesses imported products for the cruise market, with just half manufacturing some or all of their cruise products. 54% had input into the design process of products.
Apart from three retailers and one manufacturer in Scotland and an equivalent number in the Northeast, the majority of cruise businesses were concentrated in the Northwest and down a wind band down the midlands through to the Southeast. Despite a small cluster in the South of Wales the west of the UK is not well represented.
There appears to be little overlap between cruising and motorsport although a majority of cruisers would consider participating in a motorsport event. Older cruisers may be more predisposed to taking part through their membership of one-make clubs.
Both businesses and end users concurred that the two principal problems facing cruising presently, were the actions of the police and the anti-social behaviour of some of the cruising fraternity.
Concern was raised that the current police tactics of moving cruisers on was in danger of taking the movement further underground and in the direction of the Street Racing scene in America.
The research has established there is demand from cruisers for more legal cruise events. However suitable venues are difficult to arrange and the cost of event insurance for legal organised cruises can be prohibitive. To counter this it is suggested that cruise clubs, the police and local authorities consider co-operating to locate regular cruises where they least disrupt the general public, provide cruisers with the space and amenities they need and reduce the demands on police resources.
To achieve this it is proposed that these bodies draw up a code of conduct for such events that the organisers, assisted by a low-key police presence, would enforce. In so doing the organisers would be able to arrange affordable multiple event insurance cover, the costs of which could be passed onto attending cruisers.
Such events would not only help legitimise cruising but also alleviate the need for illegal cruises, with their higher risk of anti-social behaviour and may also help minimise incidents of street racing.
The lack of detailed information available within the cruising industry formed a major barrier to research. Until the cruising market becomes sufficiently recognised that businesses operating in this market find it beneficial to monitor their specific performance, separate from their other business interests, it will continue to be difficult to calculate the current level of economic activity.
As a result building links between the cruisers, the businesses that supply them, and other cruising stakeholders (such as local authorities, government bodies and the police) will remain difficult.