Health and Healthcare Systems

Has COVID-19's bicycle boom reached its peak?

The COVID-19-induced bike boom hit retailers unprepared.

The COVID-19-induced bike boom hit retailers unprepared. Image: Unsplash/Coen van de Broek

Felix Richter
Data Journalist, Statista
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  • When COVID-19 restrictions hit the United States in March 2020, millions of Americans rediscovered bicycles in the face of gym and public transportation closures.
  • Consumer spending on bicycles and accessories peaked at $8.3 billion in 2021, adjusted figures from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis show.
  • As restrictions began to lift in Q3 2021, bicycle spending started to decrease, whilst still remaining higher than pre-pandemic levels.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the United States in March 2020, forcing gyms to shutter and public transportation to suspend operation, millions of Americans re-discovered bicycles as a safe, socially-distanced form of physical exercise and transportation. The bike boom hit retailers unprepared, causing new bicycles to become a scarce commodity, exacerbated by the fact that global bicycle supply was also constrained due to Covid-19.

Bike boom: the rise and fall

According to inflation-adjusted figures published by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Americans spent $7.0 billion on bicycles and accessories in 2020, up from $6.1 billion the year before. The trend continued in 2021, when consumer spending on bicycles and accessories reached almost $8 billion. Looking at seasonally adjusted quarterly figures, bicycle spending peaked in Q2 2021, when consumers bought bikes and equipment at an annual rate of $8.3 billion compared to pre-pandemic spending of around $6 billion per quarter.

Starting in Q3 2021, when warmer weather and rising vaccination rates helped lower case counts and enable a return to normal life, bicycle spending started to decrease. At an annual rate of $7.5 billion, spending remains above pre-pandemic levels, however, fueling hopes that the industry could remain in a higher gear compared to pre-Covid days.

Pandemic fueled bike boom is losing speed.
Pandemic fueled bike boom is losing speed. Image: Statista

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Health and Healthcare SystemsUrban Transformation
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