Jun 18, 2021
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Strong prospects for cycling market as Britons embrace the activity

Jun 18, 2021

The prospects are looking good for the UK cycling clothing market as interest among consumers in cycling is at a high, having been boosted by the pandemic, a Mintel report showed on Friday.

Le Col

It said that 3.3 million bikes were bought last year and, based on a survey of more than 2,000 consumers, some 42% of cyclists plan to buy a bike in the next 12 months. That should provide ongoing support for the wider cycling clothing and accessories market.

It’s all good news for brand such as Rapha, Le Col, Findra, Force GB, No Such Thing, Ride With Wolves and many more. 

But as consumers buy specific clothing for their cycling activities, it won't necessarily all be about cycle shorts, technical jackets and skintight jerseys as the study also showed that e-bikes now account for over a fifth of total bicycle sales by value in the UK. These could appeal to a different consumer market from the younger, dedicated cyclist. And their popularity is just as likely to spur consumer interest in the general outdoor-wear offer from sports and outdoor specialist retailers, as well as more ‘regular’ casual clothing.

Mintel said bicycle volume sales rose an estimated 22% in 2020 and 21% of cyclists have bought a bike for themselves in the past 12 months, up from 17% over the previous year. The fact that the number of cyclists who intend to buy a bike in the next 12 months has risen from 37% in 2020 to 42% in 2021 shows that demand triggered by Covid-19 has yet to run its course.  

Of course, not everyone replaces their bike regularly, but the fact that around 45% of cyclists have cycled more since the start of the pandemic means that they could well have to replace the clothing and footwear they wear for the activity more often. It's also significant that 25% of adults who bought a bike in the past 12 months were either new cyclists or returning cyclists, opening up a larger number of consumers who might be buying cycling clothing. At present, 31% of adults in Britain cycle and 19% do so at least once a week.

And there’s plenty of growth potential in the market with local authorities adding new cycle lanes and the possibility of the introduction of government subsidies for e-bike purchases.

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