UK’s bicycle and accessory exports show modest growth

Bicycle and related accessory exports have risen by 15% thus far in 2020, tallying £173.2 million in value.

It is exports to both neighbouring mainland Europe, far flung Australia and the USA that lead the rise in demand, with highly visible labels such as Brompton a major beneficiary. Last month the Greenford manufacturer announced a five-fold increase in sales.

By nation, Australia took £18.5 million in goods, Germany £18.3 million and France £13 million. Closer to home Ireland brought in £45.3 million in cycling exports, though there is some uncertainty that such volume could grow with the threat of a hard border looming if Brexit talks fail.

To the USA, bicycle and accessory exports rose by 28.2% in the first quarter of 2020 when compared to like-for-like data in 2019.

Stephen Loftus, Chief Commercial Officer for Brompton Bicycle, said of the firm’s overseas trade: “Our export sales to year-end March 2020 were up over 30% compared to 2019 as people increasingly recognise the benefits of cycling in cities across the world.

Since March, as the WHO and national governments promoted cycling as an alternative to public transport during the Coronavirus pandemic, global demand for Brompton has grown significantly. We expect that trend to continue.”

Coming the other way, import data had continued to slump toward the tail end of 2019, which has in part contributed heavily to a Covid-19 led shortage of key lines as we enter the summer peak trading season. Retailers across the UK are reporting significant headwind when trying to locate low to mid-priced bicycles, as well as spares such as 26-inch tyres and tubes as people dig old bicycles out for repair.

Flagged within a Department for International Trade memo on bicycle and accessory exports was Brit helmet maker Dashel, a small business created by former LVMH and Nike designer Catherine Bedford. Dashel has recently inked a distribution deal to export goods to South Korea, worth an estimated £380,000.

Catherine Bedford, Founder of Dashel Helmets, says demand for her helmets has remained strong despite the Coronavirus outbreak:

“The UK’s cycling industry is booming, and I’m proud that Dashel is playing its part in moving us towards a happier, healthier and more environmentally friendly world.

“DIT has helped Dashel to grow by supporting our exports since we first launched. As a safety product, we have a lot of regulations to abide by when selling overseas, and our International Trade Advisor has helped us to navigate these.

“We have been exporting over 40% of our output since launch and this looks set to increase, with interest from many new markets including Japan, USA and now France who all appreciate British design and manufacturing”.

Tasked with negotiating a fresh round of trade deals, Trade Secretary Liz Truss commented:

“The UK’s expertise in cycling, combined with our manufacturing heritage in this industry, is in-demand across the world. With Free Trade Agreement negotiations already underway with the US and Japan, and due to launch shortly with other key markets, our great British bike manufacturers can expect to see demand soar even further in the future.

“With more people turning to two wheels for their commute and leisure, UK cycling’s success on the road and track is translating into increasing business success.”

For data detailing where trade within the UK is expected to grow and decline, businesses with an interest in the independent retail sector are invited to enquire about CyclingIndustry.News’ own now discounted Retail Channel Study.