Lockdown Sees UK Mobility Take to Two Wheels

Personal mobility has been changed by the pandemic in the UK with 1.3 consumers taking to two wheels since the start of lockdown.

Almost five per cent of the nation’s consumers have bought bicycles as a way of combining permitted exercise regimes during the government’s mobility restrictions with a safe self-isolated method of travelling away from the risks posed by shared public transport. Cycling was also seen as a way of meeting the restrictions allowing only essential vehicular travel while still remaining mobile. The study by data and analytics company, GlobalData, suggests the radical change in personal mobility may be here to stay.

Well known retailers have benefited from the surge in demand with 21.7% buying their bike from the automotive and cycling supply chain Halfords boosting the retailer’s overall performance, followed by 15.4% purchasing from the more upmarket Evans cycle network of shops. The move to two wheels was also influenced by the government’s decision to allow cycle shops to remain open throughout the crisis as an essential service along with food outlets.

Sofie Willmott, lead analyst at GlobalData, said: “As much of the UK works from home – 51.0% of the working population in early June – consumers have saved on travel costs and many have found themselves with more time to exercise and no gym open to visit, making a new bike an appealing option. The majority of consumers who have bought a bike in the last few months were thinking of buying one anyway with the crisis pushing them into making a purchase, helped by cycling stores remaining open throughout lockdown.

“Although the bike market will see a spike in demand this year boosted by the lockdown, there is further opportunity for retailers to benefit in the future as current bike owners may choose to upgrade now they have reignited their interest in cycling. In addition, with 72.4% of current home workers expecting to do so more often post-crisis, there will be stark changes to pre-COVID commuting habits with public transport likely to remain unappealing and many consumers turning to bikes for some journeys.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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