Business

Bike sales down a quarter on pre-Covid levels, according to latest report from Bicycle Association 

The sales of bikes have dipped below pre-Covid levels, according to the latest report from the Bicycle Association. 

Trade association for the UK cycle trade, the Bicycle Association (BA), has released data from its latest market report, which will be available in full to BA members subscribing to the Market Data Service and to non-members for a fee. 

Compared to the pre-pandemic period in the first half of 2019, bike volume sales in the first half of 2022 were down by 25%, while pedal assisted cycles and services were also down by 20% in volume sales compared to 2019, according to the report. 

Headline figures from the BA also revealed that total market value remains 16% ahead of 2019, despite the falling sales figures. Key factors sustaining that value growth have included a rise in average prices, the increasing proportion of e-bikes in overall sales, and the resilience of the specialist market, when compared with the generalist selector. 

Tom Payton, who is responsible for the BA’s Market Data Service, said: “Despite falling sales, cycling activity appears to be relatively strong. During the first seven months of 2022, Department for Transport data shows cycling levels were tracking well above 2021 levels. Following a sluggish start to the year, for March-July 2022 average daily cycling activity reached 139% of the March 2020 baseline (compared to 93% in 2021). Average weekend activity reached 166% of the baseline (compared to 129% in 2021). This relative buoyancy of cycling participation may bode well for a future uplift in sales, once recovery begins and normal ‘purchase and replacement cycles’ return.” 

Hybrid bikes and kids’ bikes have lost market share so far in 2022, compared with 2019 and e-bike growth has also stalled overall.

The BA did reveal that lower-priced products in the e-bike sector are performing better than those in the specialist market, driven by an influx of lower-priced e-bikes and product shortages on premium products. 

E-cargo continues to be a growing market, as volume sales during the 12 months ending May 2022 increased 37% compared to the same period ending May 2021.  The BA estimates that the annual market size for e-cargo could be around 8,000 to 10,000 units, with 50% of that believed to be in the B2B sector.

Read more: “There are undoubtedly a lot of challenges at the moment”: Madison distributor focus 

Payton added: “In this challenging environment, the BA will focus on its key priorities to support an accelerated return to growth and promote the longer-term objectives of the industry. These include: positioning the industry as an enabler of ‘green jobs’ and net-zero carbon targets; building support for e-bike purchase incentives; championing the importance of children’s cycling; engaging the wider industry through the Investors in Cycling programme; and investing in the BA’s Market Data Service to improve our analysis, presentation and understanding of market trends.” 

Alex Ballinger

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