The sales of bikes in the UK dropped to the lowest level in two decades in 2022, according to new research released by the Bicycle Association.
On Tuesday (21st February), national trade organisation the Bicycle Association (BA) published its Annual Market Data Report for 2022, which revealed the extent of the trading slowdown in the trade following the Covid boom.
According to BA research, the sales of mechanical bikes fell by 22%, to an estimated 1.8 million units, in 2022 – 27% below pre-Covid levels in 2019.
Kids bikes also tailed off, falling 28% below 2019 numbers to an estimated 700,000 units across the UK, while e-bikes remain stable but have plateaued since 2020.
The BA has called on the Government and authorities to help support the bike industry, by recognising cycling’s role in both economic growth and environmental goals like net-zero.
John Worthington, report author and BA’s head of insights, said: “The market faces a turbulent and challenging year ahead. Once overall supply and demand return to a better equilibrium, and the economic environment improves, longer-term prospects for the cycling market are positive. But for the next 12 months the industry will need to weather a difficult storm.”
Key points from the report, subtitled ‘Riding out the Storm,’: include:
- Bike sales may have reached their lowest level in two decades: Total UK mechanical bike volumes fell 22% to an estimated 1.88 million units in 2022. This was 27% below pre-COVID levels in 2019
- Kids’ bike sales fell 28% below 2019 numbers, estimated UK total of 700,000 units
- Gravel bikes have been a rare stand-out performer: Volumes were up 8% in 2022 versus 2021 and have risen by 59% since 2019
- E-bikes have been more stable but overall volumes have plateaued since 2020
- E-bike rentals are driving an uplift in bike share schemes
The BA said that the report also finds areas where the industry could begin to recover, particularly in e-bike sales which remain far below European levels.
Across Europe, e-bikes sales are helping to compensate for falling mechanical volumes and helping to grow the overall market, according to the BA.
The Bicycle Association stressed the importance of action to tackle declining sales, including:
- Increased support and focus on cycling’s role in UK economic growth and net-zero strategy with local investment
- Government commitment to multi-year funding for Active Travel England and continued cycling investment in Scotland and Wales
- Increase in short cyclable trips taken by bicycle to reduce motor vehicle emissions
Simon Irons, Bicycle Association Market Data Service director, said: “This report is not an easy read. However, as an industry we have to rise to the challenges ahead of us and do everything we can to make cycling a safe and attractive method of transport for more people in the UK. Most worrying is the decline in kids’ bike sales. This is a key area of work for the BA and our industry in 2023.”
Riding out the Storm: UK Cycling Market Report 2022 is a 61-page report providing detailed analysis of cycling industry sales and growth during the calendar year 2022. It integrates the BA’s sales data with wider data sets, from weather patterns to the National Travel Survey, to provide analysis of the UK market available today.
The BA’s Market Data Services draws data from over 70% of the UK Cycling Market and is powered by Sporting Insights, the BA’s data partner.
To purchase the report, visit: https://www.bicycleassociation.org.uk/market-data/mds-buy-reports/