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New AIB data sees bike sales boom by 32% year on year

New AIB data sees bike sales boom by 32% year on year
Rob Flynn

Rob Flynn

Staff Writer

Bright and sunny weather, reduced traffic on our roads, and fast-tracked improvements in cycling infrastructure in our cities and towns are all possible reasons why bicycle sales have increased year on year, according to AIB.

You might remember it being reported, and only a number of months into the pandemic, that Irish bike shops were struggling to keep up with demand for new bikes, with many of those same businesses selling out of second-hand models.

Such a story was almost hard to believe at the time, with many people even on waiting lists before being able to get out on the open road and start their newfound hobby.

But now, newly released spending data from Irish bank AIB has helped to make sense of what has been happening, with figures showing nothing short of a full on bike boom taking place.

Read on to find out more!

Bicycle boom

Newly released data from AIB has revealed that sales in bicycle stores across the country increased by almost a third year on year, in what was, in essence, a full on bicycle boom.

The 32% sales increase is part of a wider data set released by the bank, compiled from almost one million aggregated customer debit and credit card transactions between January 2019 and September 2020.

The data revealed not only an increase in bike sales, but the value of transactions also rose and increased by 13% year on year, with slightly over 1 in 10 of those purchasing bikes willing to pay more.

The month of June was perhaps the busiest month for sales since the pandemic hit, with the beginning of summer witnessing a 70% sales increase compared to the same month in the previous year.

The following summer months, July and August, all saw year-on-year increases too, with bike shops registering rises of 63% and 53% respectively.

Unsurprisingly, bike sales saw a drop in April (-34% YOY) according to the AIB data, as a result of the nationwide lockdown restrictions that were in place at the time.

Head of SME Banking at AIB, Rachel Naughton said: 

Covid-19 has accelerated many changes in Irish society as people adapt to new, more sustainable ways of living.  Reduced traffic on our roads, increased cycling infrastructure and good weather this year saw consumer spending in bicycles stores up 32% on last year. 

In June, when restrictions were lifted and people were allowed move more freely, bicycle store sales were 70% higher when compared with the previous year. The demographics of who is cycling has also changed, with those over 65 spending 48% more in bicycle stores than they did in 2019, while spend by women in bicycle stores was 41% higher than in 2019.

Big spenders, young & old

Interestingly, Westmeath was the county that saw the biggest increase in spend on bikes year on year, up 59%, followed by Dublin which saw sales increase 40% year on year.

Kerry, however, weren’t getting on their bikes quite as much, seeing a mere 2% rise in sales since last year.

Meanwhile, those over the age of 55 accounted for the biggest increase, with those between the ages of 55 and 64 spending 41% more than last year, and those over 65 spending 48% more in bike stores than in 2019.

Women also spent 41% more on bicycles this year compared to last, while men’s spend was 29% higher than in 2019.

Speaking about an increase in consumer demand for bicycles this year, owner of sustainable bicycle manufacturer LittleBig Bikes and AIB customer, Simon Evans said: 

The demand for bicycles this year has been phenomenal, our sales are double what they were last year. The first few months when we started to emerge from the initial lockdown were our best trading months ever, bigger than any previous Christmas or summer. As a result of Covid more families have found the outdoors and are cycling places where previously they would have taken the car. During the summer months when there was reduced traffic on the roads they also felt safer and we saw more families cycling together which led to the surge.

On the flip side, as we have seen such an increase in demand for bicycles we are running out of stock in record times. We manufacture our own bicycles and we cannot get parts quick enough to produce the bicycles to sell.

See our table below for how bicycle store sales for 2020 compared to 2019.

Month

Change in sales

January

1%

February

0%

March

-4%

April

-34%

May

49%

June

70%

July

63%

August

53%

September

63%

Service station spend

AIB’s card data also showed that the amount of money spent in service stations reduced by 7% during the same period year on year. 

Patrons in counties Wicklow, Waterford, and Dublin saw the biggest reductions, spending 12%, 11%, and 10% less respectively.

Similar to bicycle sales above, April saw the biggest decrease in spend in service stations, with sales down by almost half (40%) year-on-year.

Let’s hear from you

Did you partake in the bicycle boom this year? Was your local store sold out when you went to buy? Let us know in the comments below.

Or you can always get in touch with us on social media over on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

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