UK bicycle supply in 2021

May 25, 2021

25 May 2021

Bicycle Association statement: UK bicycle supply in 2021

Since April 2020, in the UK there has been a remarkable and rapid rise in demand for bicycles of every type – from childrens’ bikes, to mountain bikes (MTBs) and electrically assisted pedal cycles (e-bikes). Last year over 3.1 million bicycles were purchased in Great Britain, about 15% more than in any of the last five years.

Through the very difficult times of the pandemic, people have taken up cycling for leisure, exercise, work, sport, and for fun and relaxation. Sport England estimates that over 1.6 million new cycle trips have been made in the last year.

The cycle industry’s latest forecast indicates that this resurgence of interest in cycling is set to continue, and a further 3 million bikes will be purchased in 2021.

This rapid and dramatic surge in consumer demand, which is mirrored in other European countries, has inevitably led to some supply problems for the UK market.

Most bicycles in the world are manufactured in East Asia, and even those which are assembled in the EU often require components shipped from that region. This extended supply chain does mean that, even in normal circumstances, delivery times are long.

Sudden increases in global demand put additional pressure on production and, particularly recently, there have been constraints on shipping. This has resulted in some temporary delays in supply, especially for those customers wanting a particular brand, model, size or colour of bike.

However, the UK cycle industry is extremely competitive, and no supplier or retailer wants to have disappointed customers. Everyone is working at full stretch to ensure that present demand is fully and rapidly met, and that another three million bicycles are available this year.

UK customers are buying a bike every 10 seconds. With the Government’s commitment to £2 billion investment in cycling for the next three years, and with COP 26 and the focus on the environment, there has never been a better time to buy and ride a bike.

While any temporary shortage is frustrating and regrettable, nevertheless it is very encouraging that we do still love our bikes, and that so many people have come to enjoy the many pleasures and benefits that cycling offers. The future for cycling has never been brighter.