In 2020, the bicycle market benefited from strong winds

In the rue de Rivoli, in Paris, September 14, 2020. GONZALO FUENTES

The wind behind your back, in a straight line and without obstacles. This is how we can qualify, in 2020, the trajectory of the bicycle market, the figures of which were presented on Thursday, April 8, by Union sport et cycle, the main professional federation in the sector. The market recorded an increase of 25%, reaching a turnover of more than 3 billion euros, a record according to the “Cycle Observatory”, published each spring by the profession. The weight of the sector has therefore more than doubled since 2012.

This exceptional development takes place in a very specific context. The Covid-19 pandemic has in fact resulted in a sharp increase in cycling all over the world, both for daily travel and for leisure. In the spring of 2020, in France, local authorities created temporary cycling facilities which convinced users and which they perpetuated over the following months. The bike appeared “Like a barrier gesture”, because sitting on a saddle, we keep away from the crowd, “And also as a gesture of pleasure”, observes Olivier Schneider, president of the Federation of Bicycle Users (FUB), which campaigns for the development of bicycle use.

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Globally, the demand for bicycles has increased significantly, to the point of exerting strain on supply chains mainly located in Asia, and of lengthening delivery times. We have even been able to speak, for entry-level bikes, or certain accessories such as derailleurs, of a temporary shortage. This strong demand has also led resellers to abandon the sales or destocking operations which they usually carry out at the end of the year, which has, mechanically, boosted prices.

More than ever, the star of the market is the electric-assisted bicycle, of which 514,672 copies sold in 2020

In this context, all market segments are on the rise. Almost 2.7 million new bikes were sold in 2020. This is not a record, but the increase reached 1.7% compared to 2019, when dealers closed their doors during the seven weeks of the first confinement. “There are now 25 million bicycles in France, 40 million if we add those that would require repair. Each year, there are around 500,000 more ”, says Schneider.

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