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Friday, June 18, 2021

Covid sees new record in bicycle imports to Australia

With Covid increasing national bicycle sales by 50%, Australia is set to hit a new all-time record of 1.75 million bikes imported into the country in a single 12-month period this financial year, according to Bicycle Industries Australia, the beak body representing Australia’s bicycle industry. 

Based on historical trends and ABS import data, a new record of 1.75 million bicycles will enter Australian ports by 30 June 2021 to be sold in bicycle shops and retailers.

Bicycle Industries Australia’s Peter Bourke predicts the ‘COVID dividend’ for bike sales as Australians chose to ride in unprecedented numbers has resulted in a 50% increase in sales across the board.

“Bicycle sales throughout COVID were fantastic, emptying shops and warehouses alike and we expect that demand to drive this new 2020/21 Financial Year import record of 1.75 million units,” Mr Bourke said.

“It seems Australians voted for bike riding during COVID and visited bike shops with the entire family, leaving with new bikes for everyone or getting their old bikes from the shed repaired and ready for riding.

“Those supply chain issues in 2020 that caused significant shortages of stock across the board are still being felt with very low floor stock available nationally and long wait lists, something that will take many months to resolve but makes this new record all the more remarkable,” he said.

And it’s not just bicycles flying out the doors. Mr Bourke said “sales of spare parts such as tyres and tubes, lights, frames and forks have all increased by 50% while repair shops had wait lists of several weeks as people pulled their old bikes out of the shed and realise they need some repairs to get them going again”.

He said many of the bikes were used near home during the lockdown restrictions but are now being used to provide genuine transport solutions as people have headed back the office and looked for healthy, convenient and COVID-safe commuting options.

“With three months still to go for this financial year, the numbers have already equalled any full year on record, and with many unfulfilled orders still in the system, the number will continue to be unprecedented,” Mr Bourke said.

With World Bicycle Day this Wednesday 3 June and the boom in imports and sales, the industry calls on governments at all levels to invest accordingly in bicycle infrastructure to support the approximately four million Australians choosing to ride for fun, fitness and transport every week.
Key stats:

  • The previous record: Financial year 2014-2015 – 1,419,825 bicycles imported into Australia
  • Since the 2014-15 record, numbers continued to fall to a low of 1.1 million in 2019-2020
  • The impact of Covid is a predicted 50% growth to 1.75 million* bikes and, like many imported products, this would be higher except for global stock shortages on bicycles that have kept waiting lists long across the country
  • Bicycle imports for the nine months to the end of March 2021 = 1,413,327 units (equal to previous full-year records)
  • On average, two adult’s bikes are being sold for every child’s bike
  • Highlighting how much Australians have embraced bicycles, the record figure is about double the 917,000 motor vehicles sold in Australia in 2020
  • ABS bicycle import stats have been used since 1998 as an objective proxy for bicycle sales

*Bike data from the Australian Bureau Statistics

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