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Market research company Mintel claims that the bike market in the UK is set to see a great year ahead. It is forecasting a 12% increase in new bike sales.
Mintel is also predicting that people in the uK will buy 2.1 million bikes in 2024. But does this really sound plausible?
- E-bikes are the most popular type of bike cyclists plan to buy over the next 12 months.
- Move over MAMILs (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) – say hello to MAWILs (Middle Aged Woman In Lycra): 34% of women aged 45 to 64 year olds are interested in taking up cycling.
- Half (49%) of current cyclists/potential cyclists say they are more likely to consider buying a second-hand bicycle compared to a year ago.
But do we really think everyone is going to get out there and buy bikes in the numbers predicted? With inflation rising again in December, will consumer confidence really be on the up? Those in the industry would be delighted if this was the case, but from what we’re hearing, no one is expecting much of a recovery until 2025 and beyond. That said, with so much inventory in warehouses, it should be a great year to pick up a bargain.
Here’s the PR from Mintel in full:
Following a bumpy few years, the UK cycling market is on the road to recovery. According to new research from Mintel, new bicycle sales are forecast to climb by 12% in 2024 with Brits set to buy 2.1 million bikes.
The rise in sales comes after a period of declining growth; in 2023, Mintel analysis finds that UK bicycle sales fell by 11% to reach an estimated 1.9 million bikes – down 42% from the record high of 2020 (3.3 million bikes). Value sales are expected to pick up speed too – with new bike sales projected to rise by 15% to reach just shy of a billion pounds (an estimated £998 million) in 2024. This follows a 15% fall in annual sales to reach £868 million in 2023 compared to the year before; in fact there’s been a gradual decline in annual bike sales since 2020.
Despite their higher retail prices, e-bikes are the most popular type of bike cyclists plan to buy over the next 12 months* – nearly a fifth (19%) of those who plan to purchase a bicycle for themselves in the next 12 months plan to buy an e-bike.
Paul Davies, Category Director, Leisure Research, Mintel Reports, said:
“Rising living costs have severely impacted demand for new bikes and e-bikes, which had already been suffering due to COVID-19 related supply-side issues. A recovery in demand is now underway. In the near-term, easing inflation and wage growth are helping to improve consumer confidence while heavy discounting by retailers is helping to boost sales. The cost of living is also encouraging people to take to two wheels to get around, as around a third (34%) of Brits are cycling more compared to a year ago to reduce spending on petrol/public transport. Looking further ahead, continued investment and development in the country’s cycling infrastructure, and a rising focus on sustainable travel will help to further lift demand.
“But the growing second-hand market, with the likes of Halfords now actively involved, is now a threat to new bike sales growth. Half (49%) of Brits who currently ride a bicycle or would consider riding one in the future agree that they are more likely to consider buying a second-hand bicycle compared to a year ago.”
Move over MAMILs the MAWIL (Middle Aged Women in Lycra) could gain traction
The COVID-19 boost in cycling activity has done nothing to narrow the long-standing gender imbalance in participation: 41% of men currently cycle vs just 22% of women. But there is notable interest in cycling among women aged from 16 to 64 years old, with interest peaking at just over 40% among women under 45, but also high among 45 to 64s at 34%.
“Overcoming the considerable gender gap in cycling has been a challenge the industry has long struggled with, however, it remains a market opportunity that cannot be ignored. A meaningful rise in participation among women is likely to result in a meaningful rise in bicycle sales. Converting this interest into actual participation will require a greater focus on female audiences when developing new products and marketing campaigns. Messaging with a greater focus on cycling as a family activity could play a role in boosting interest among women, especially Middle Aged Women in Lycra (MAWILs).”
*From July 2023.
Mintel surveyed 2,000 internet users aged 16+ in July 2023.