National trade association the Bicycle Association (BA) has released a ‘COVID Impact’ report on the UK cycling economy, covering sales from January to October 2020. It reveals that e-bike sales more than doubled during this period, accounting for one pound in every five spent on bikes.
Bike retailers have seen sales grow by 60 per cent since March 2020 with the Bicycle Association calling the surge, “unprecedented in modern times.”
It points out that with demand at times outstripping supply, market growth could have been even higher had more stock been available.
E-bikes – already a major growth segment before 2020 – saw a 92% year-on-year rise in sales between April and September, plus a value increase of 118%.
In July, the Bicycle Association called for the government to subsidise e-bikes and also do more to increase awareness of them as a travel option.
“E-bikes have huge potential to relieve the pressure on other modes of transport hard hit by Covid-19, without adding to city congestion,” said a spokesperson.
“BA analysis using the Department for Transport-funded Propensity to Cycle tool suggests that widespread uptake of e-bikes could boost the percentage of commuter journeys cycled by up to 40 per cent, even before new safe cycle route networks are built.”
The organisation estimates that a £250 financial incentive could double e-bike sales.
The government has since floated extending the 30 per cent subsidy that is already on offer to buyers of other electric vehicles.
Consumer research conducted by the #BikeIsBest campaign suggests that 17 per cent of cyclists would consider buying an e-bike should it follow through on those plans.