We'll all be back buying bikes for commuting and recreation in 2024, according to a the latest survery from Mintel, with e-bikes taking centre stage
UK riders will spend nearly £1 billion on new bikes in 2024, with e-bikes accounting for nearly a fifth of all purchases, and a huge uptick in women riding too. That’s according to the latest study from research brand Mintel, which predicts there’ll be more than 2.1 million bikes sold this year, 12% up over 2023 and reversing the post-pandemic decline.
That could mean we’ll see more of the best electric mountain bikes on the trails in 2024, with demand increasing for dedicated women’s brands like Liv and Juliana.
That’s a huge about-face for an industry currently suffering after the Covid bike boom. It’s no secret that the global bike industry is going through what Shimano describes as a “Frozen winter” of decline. Just this year we’ve seen Orange enter administration, while in 2023 Chain Reaction Cycles and plenty more succumbed to the same fate, entering legal limbo to shield themselves from creditors.
Meanwhile almost every brand, from Specialized to Giant, Trek to Santa Cruz, Shimano to SRAM, has seen sales fall, and slashed bike prices in an effort to clear stock. The Mintel analysis tallies with this, UK bike sales falling by 11% to 1.9 million bikes last year, down 42% from the record high of 2020 where 3.3 million were sold.
Frozen winter’s over?
The big question then, is winter over? Yes, according to the Mintel survey, which asked some 2,000 internet users about their projected bike spending this year. Nearly a fifth (19%) of those who plan to buy something for themselves in the next 12 months will choose an e-bike.
And it’s the development of e-bikes that’s driving demand, according to the latest Bicycle in United Kingdom Market Overview 2023-2027, which sees e-bike sales growing at a faster pace than regular bikes, driven by advances in battery technology.
There’s more going on too than just cool new e-bikes, according to analysts Mobility Foresights, which sees people increasingly look to eebs to reduce their carbon footprint, and for recreational purposes too.
Perhaps the best news from the Mintel survey is the interest from women in cycling, with 34% of women aged 45-64 interested in taking up the sport. Narrow that down further, and it’s the younger generation reporting the interest in bikes too, with 40% of women under 45 planning to get riding.
Are we about to enter a new dawn of mountain biking, with increased participation, more women and younger riders entering the sport? There’s certainly a feeling inside the bike industry that this is the case, with several brands and distributors expecting prices to return to normal and demand returning too in 2024 (get those deals while you can!).
So in the words of Winston Churchill, “this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”