The Bicycle Association has released the latest commentary* on the HMRC import and export data for bicycles coming in and out of the UK.
Q3 – Jul/Aug/Sept 2018 – summary:
• Imports of bicycles (excluding ebikes) during Quarter 3 were significantly down (46%) on the same quarter in 2017, and over 50% down on Q3 levels seen back to 2010.
• However, Year to date (YTD) total imports of bicycle units to end Q3 is 1.85m, roughly the same as at the same point in 2017 (1.89m), so this drop is likely to be natural variation / correction from previous quarters. 2017 imports went on to build substantially in Q4. Q4 in 2018 may do the same.
• Despite similar YTD units, YTD value is down (16%) on that in 2017 (£210m YTD 2018 compared to £250m by the end of September in 2017).
• E-bike data tells a different story, and Q3 2018 is up on Q3 2017 in both volume and value terms (8% and 25% respectively). There now feels like there is enough data following the HMRC coding change (to eliminate incorrectly coded items before 2017) to make a real comparison between 2018 and 2017. If that is a reasonable assumption then we are seeing a distinct positive upward trend.
• The data also suggests that EU anti-dumping measures are now taking effect against imports of ebikes from China. The proportion of all e-bikes coming from China over the previous 12 months has dropped from 50% to 45%. France now consolidates its position as the 2nd highest country of origin with over 10% of ebikes imported from there over the last 12 months. However, the very low average unit value of an e-bike from France (£141) continues to stand out as anomalous.
• On the export front, and perhaps of significance, we see that units exported from the UK to NON-EU countries YTD 2018 has increased to 29% of the total up from 25% in previous quarters with the value of these exports rising to 31% of the total. The majority of exports are of course still to EU countries but perhaps an early sign of Brexit impact and a small shift in focus of UK bike exports to non-EU countries.
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* Analysis is based on HMRC UK INTRASTAT AND ALLSTAT data with some supporting data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). The data combines movements between EU members as well as imports and exports from and to countries outside the EU. The report is part of a quarterly series published for BA members’ own use within 3 months of the data becoming available. The Bicycle Association believes this data is a good proxy for overall trends in the bicycle market, however a number of caveats must be borne in mind: There is an unknown lag between date of import and sale. The analysis cannot take into account corrections from any over-supply in previous years. The relationship between import value and final sales price is not known.