Around 1.3 million people – five per cent of UK consumers – have bought a bike since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis according to GlobalData. The data and analytics firm says that this will further increase opportunities for retailers with many of those people looking to upgrade in the future after rekindling an interest in cycling.
While there appears to have been a slight downturn in recent weeks, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps reported on Thursday that cycling levels are nevertheless still up by 70 per cent compared to the period before the coronavirus lockdown.
A number of bike retailers have struggled to keep pace with demand.
On Thursday, Decathlon’s CEO apologised for bike shortages and said the firm as working hard to find a solution.
Evans Cycles have endured criticism on social media from customers complaining of long delays, while Winstanleys Bikes received a flurry of negative reviews on TrustPilot for similar issues.
Lead Analyst at GlobalData, Sofie Willmott, commented: “As much of the UK works from home – 51.0 per cent of the working population in early June – consumers have saved on travel costs and many have found themselves with more time to exercise and no gym open to visit, making a new bike an appealing option.
“The majority of consumers who have bought a bike in the last few months were thinking of buying one anyway with the crisis pushing them into making a purchase, helped by cycling stores remaining open throughout lockdown.”
Earlier this week, Mintel predicted that despite a recent boom in sales, the UK bike market would contract by 10 per cent this year to £842m.
The consumer research firm did however say that sales would then grow dramatically to be worth £3bn by 2023.
GlobalData also predicts a rise in interest in cycling in the longer term.
Willmott said: “Although the bike market will see a spike in demand this year boosted by the lockdown, there is further opportunity for retailers to benefit in the future as current bike owners may choose to upgrade now they have reignited their interest in cycling.
“In addition, with 72.4 per cent of current home workers expecting to do so more often post-crisis, there will be stark changes to pre-COVID commuting habits with public transport likely to remain unappealing and many consumers turning to bikes for some journeys.”