Bike shops will once more remain essential services during lockdown

Bike shops are named on the list of essential retail services following the confirmation that England will once more enter a national lockdown from Wednesday.

Listed among the transport services permitted to stay open bike shops will again be allowed to operate in full, offering sales and workshop services, though it is advisable to have a policy in place limiting the number of customers in store at once.

There will be a marked difference between this lockdown and the spring lockdown last year, during which the bike industry proceeded to sell through inventory at a record pace. This time around a significant supply chain hangover means that a scrabble for available stock will leave many short on supply if demand in any way mirrors prior form. So strong has the demand been it has forced industry giants such as Shimano to reassesses supply chain functionality.

According to the Bicycle Association, from March 2020, bicycle retailers saw sales growth of 60%, while electric bike sales increased by 92% between April and September 2020. In May of 2020 cycling activity rose to over 300% of its pre-lockdown levels.

Addressing the question of when normality will return, Ben Hillsdon, Shimano Europe’s PR officer told CI.N at the close of last year:

“2020 has seen a global cycling boom largely due to the COVID-19 crisis but also in part due to the positive trajectory witnessed in the majority of European markets in previous years. Many more people are buying bicycles or accessories and, it’s fair to assume, many more people are using bicycles for fitness/leisure or commuting purposes.

“This huge demand upswing in 2020 has led to customers selling more bikes and placing far more orders with us than we would usually expect.

“Whilst demand is higher than usual across both ends of the market we are working hard to address supply chain demand as well as working with our business partners to offer solutions so they can bring complete bicycles to the market as soon as possible.

“The current demand is dependent on the development of the Covid-19 situation and the resulting initiatives by governments, how that affects raw materials production further up the chain, and long-term trend that may result from consumers switching to cycling as a result of less public transport reliance or an increase in cycling as a leisure/fitness activity.

“Incoming orders are extremely positive but future demand is difficult to predict in the current climate so we cannot give a concrete reply at present. However, we strongly believe in the future growth of the bicycle market and will prepare our factories for it.”