Latest Data from UK Further Emphasises Bike Boom

Two recent reports from the UK further underline why Australia has been having trouble securing bicycles. The boom is global.

The first was from Halfords, by far the largest bicycle retailer in the UK. Halfords sells products from the automotive and other sectors in addition to bicycles. They have about 800 outlets throughout the UK. Halfords released their preliminary results for the 52 weeks to 2nd April 2021.

Cycling was up 54.1% in sales and 51% in services. Their Trendz specialist bicycle retail division was up 66%.

These growth figures are even more remarkable when you take into account that the UK economy shrank by 9.9% in 2020, more than double the previous largest annual fall on record. This has been attributed both to severe coronavirus lockdowns and ‘Brexit’, their decision to leave the European Union.

“There are, however, external factors that add uncertainty to our outlook,” a Halfords spokesperson said. “Supply challenges for cycling products remain acute, and a return to normal trading patterns remains highly uncertain.”

“We also believe that the increased adoption of cycling will continue, supported by Government investment and a societal need to tackle climate change. As a business, we will continue to drive our markets by launching more new and exclusive products, becoming the market leader in electric mobility as the UK switches to a sustainable future, and continuing to engage our customers by creating a seamless digital and physical experience. Building on the strong foundations we have created in FY21, Halfords is well-positioned to accelerate its transformation journey.”

Total Cycling Market Also Grows Strongly

Meanwhile, Global Market Research firm Mintel released a report mid June 2021 reviewing the 2020 calendar year.

It estimated that the UK market rose in volume by 22% in 2020 from 2.7 million to 3.3 million units but that it rose in value by 44% to just under £1.2 billion (A$2.22 billion) reflecting a higher average unit sale price.

“Cycling has been one of the clear winners during the upheaval of the past year,” said John Worthington, senior analyst at Mintel. “The perfect set of circumstances for bike sales, which the pandemic created, is likely to be a one-off ‘black swan’ event. However, there is now a solid platform for sustained growth, provided the industry can manage the supply chain challenges that have been the one major spoke in the wheel during the recent bike boom.”

Almost a quarter (23%) of those who bought a bike in the past 12 months used second-hand sellers, a six-point rise from the previous year when it was 17%.

E-bike ownership has steadily risen from 7% in 2020 to 9% in 2021. Although an estimated 170,000 e-bikes were sold in 2020 (a rise of 70%), they still account for only one in 20 (5%) bicycles purchased in the UK. However, they already account for around 23% of all bicycle expenditure.

These articles were first published in Bike Biz (UK)

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