January trade figures: BA analysis shows double-digit import/export changes for bikes, e-bikes

March 12, 2021

The Bicycle Association this morning provided early analysis to its member companies of the UK trade figures for January 2021, which were released by HMRC today. Headline data is reproduced below. These figures provide some first indications of trade flow changes following the end of the Brexit transition period. However, caution is needed when interpreting this data:

  • Figures for UK exports to the EU for Jan 2021 use a new methodology, so comparison with Jan 2020 is problematic. See this article from the ONS for details.
  • Multiple factors will have influenced these trade figures: Brexit, COVID, pre-Brexit stockpiling and possibly also wider logistics issues affecting international shipping. So assigning all change to Brexit, for example, would be premature.
  • Thus far, only one month’s data (Jan 2021 vs Jan 2020) is available for comparison, so this is unlikely to be reliable as an indicator for longer trends. The Bicycle Association will provide its members with more considered analysis in its regular quarterly import/export report, which will be circulated to member companies once Q1 figures are all available (mid May). Meanwhile, participants in the BA’s Market Data Service will benefit from early, accurate and detailed UK sales data. Also, in April the Bicycle Association will release a full market report covering 2020 and the impact on supply in 2021.

Data below has been derived from HMRC’s UK Trade Info website, and in each case the figures are for percentage changes from Jan 2020 to Jan 2021, for value (GBP) and volume (number of bikes/e-bikes):

Bicycles (tariff code 87120030)Percentage change by value
Jan 2020 to Jan 2021
Percentage change by volume
Jan 2020 to Jan 2021
Exports (UK to EU)-60%-32%
Exports (UK to Rest of World)+61%-9%
Imports (EU to UK)-59%-68%
Imports (Rest of World to UK)+57%+72%
E-bikes (tariff code 87116010)Percentage change by value
Jan 2020 to Jan 2021
Percentage change by volume
Jan 2020 to Jan 2021
Exports (UK to EU)-51%-63%
Exports (UK to Rest of World)-44%-24%
Imports (EU to UK)-35%-59%
Imports (Rest of World to UK)-20%-13%