Research from the Bicycle Association has shown that bike sales have dropped to their lowest in two decades.
The Bicycle Association published the Annual Market Data Report for 2022, Riding out the Storm on Tuesday (February 21), which includes full coverage of the UK cycling sector for 2022. The most complete data and analysis of the cycling market available, the Bicycle Association’s Market Data Service covers 70% of total UK cycling market sales by turnover.
Riding out the Storm is a complete analysis of the overall market picture, including key drivers shaping the market, international comparisons between the UK, other European markets and the US market in mechanical and e-bike sales, and trends affecting the UK industry over the past year.
Highlights of the 2022 report 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
John Worthington, report author and Bicycle Association’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.”
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.”
The report shows areas where the UK bike market could recover, including sales of e-bikes which are far below European countries. Across Europe as a whole, rising e-bike sales are not only compensating for falling mechanical volumes, but are growing the overall market. With the right incentives in place in the UK, the e-bike market could grow here as well.
The Bicycle Association stresses 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
Riding out the Storm: UK Cycling Market Report 2022is a 61-page report providing detailed analysis of cycling industry sales and growth during the calendar year 2022. It uniquely integrates the BA’s sales data with wider data sets, from weather patterns to the National Travel Survey, to provide the only credible, comprehensive analysis of the UK market available today. This report is one of only a few which the Bicycle Association makes available beyond its membership, and it is released to provide a definitive picture of what is happening in the UK market. To purchase the report, visit:https://www.bicycleassociation.org.uk/market-data/mds-buy-reports/