First, a bit of context. You might remember the dreaded bike shortage of 2020. The days when prices of even second-hand bikes shot up as they were just so difficult to get. The whole world seemed to take up cycling and we were left searching high and low even for spare parts. Combined with manufacturing grinding to a halt, bike shortages were inevitable. The bicycle world was not ready.
Events such as the pandemic and the end of tariff-free EU trade will inevitably affect the economy in different ways, and the bike market was no exception. You might think though, that the impact would be short-lived, and to some extent, the shortage has ended. But the impacts linger on.
After 2020 saw a 60% increase in UK bike sales, planning for the following year for bike shops was uncertain. How long will people’s love for cycling continue? Will they still have the time? Will they be influenced by other people cycling and will the rate of growth continue to rise? How long is a piece of string? It’s difficult to know. So many will have planned with the prospect of a continued world-wide love affair with cycling, we can only assume as much when we love our bikes so dearly.
We, ever hopeful, expected some stability after this period. But, along with everyone else, we were disappointed. The UK saw two new prime ministers who weakened the pound, resulting in an increase in the cost of important goods. As a result, bike prices rose again. Across the globe, Russia’s war in Ukraine contributed to a significant rise in the cost of energy, which in turn affected manufacturing costs, which are then passed on to the customer. Prices rise again. Can we see a pattern here?
That’s all quite bad news for bike prices, but bike prices are also being impacted by positive changes too.
Globally, the number of people cycling is growing constantly. This is for a combination of reasons:
- Fitness: Many people are realising how valuable cycling is to fitness, so are choosing to cycle for both leisure and as a form of transport.
- Improved infrastructure: Cycle lanes are popping up all over the place, as well as bikes being allowed more and more on public transport. There are also subsidies being put in place by governments to enable people to buy bikes for less.
- Bike sharing: Many firms have failed to implement bicycle-sharing schemes in the past, so going forward, operators will start up these schemes but with reduced fleets and improved anti-vandalism mechanisms in place. In addition to this, advancements in mobile apps and GPS are increasing the availability of app-based dockless sharing schemes, which are proving popular globally.
- Bikes specific to women: More and more bike manufacturers are seeing that female-specific bikes can work really well for some people and serve as another option for getting more women cycling.
- Ebikes: Ebikes are improving all the time. From better batteries, more varieties of models, better control over varied terrain and accessibility, there’s no wonder they’re popular with all sorts of people.
All of these things combined mean that bicycle sales are only continuing to grow. With growing demand comes a rise in prices.
Some might say bike prices have dipped. Bike shops brought in so many bikes after the bike shortage to avoid similar issues of 2020 that they’re now having clearances to rid their shops of excess stock and make way for newer models.
But overall, prices are higher. Unsurprising really, but the availability of high-quality bikes and the variety available is incredible. More people are cycling, and different types of people are cycling too.
Ultimately, the more people who ride bikes, the better, and we should expect the rate of growth to slow at some point, along with prices. But until then, we’ll have to dig into our pockets a little deeper for a shiny new bike