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Forget bikes: inner tubes were cycling's lock down 'must have' product, with 1800 per cent sales jump in April

Okay, bike sales surged too, as did bike tools components and accessories in lock down sales bonanza for online cycling retailers

The lockdown that has been in force across the UK since late March has seen online sales and searches boosted across a host of cycling categories – with inner tubes and bike tools and saddles among the star performing categories, their sales in the past three months up respectively by 1,800 per cent and 500 per cent as lapsed cyclists looked to get long neglected bikes back in working order.

The figures come from RedBrain, which says it is Google’s largest Premium CSS (Comparison Shopping Services) partner, and which tracks online consumer shopping behaviour.

The company says that analysis of search and shopping results over the past two months suggest a bright future for the online cycling sector, especially if people keep riding their bikes once lockdown lifts.

Besides people returning to cycling, RedBrain believes that existing riders have also been going online to search for and buy gear to ensure that their bikes are in optimal condition.

The glorious spring weather will also have helped, with cycling among the most common forms of permitted daily exercise people have turned to, as has key workers who need to commute switching to bikes instead of public transport to maintain social distance.

The data show how interest in new bikes increased once the country went into lockdown in the final days of March.

In the month as a whole, searches for new bikes rose by 35 per cent, and sales were up by 50 per  cent, but in April that accelerated, with searches up more than 500 per cent and sales up almost 75 per cent.

April also saw big growth in searches and sales related to bike maintenance and parts which continued into May, although sales were down in that month due to online retailers being unable to keep up with the unprecedented demand.

According to RedBrain, the most demanded cycling products during the lockdown period have been:

RedBrain chart.PNG

The company’s chief growth officer, Alastair Campbell, said: “We've seen a huge impact on all our lives recently from COVID-19 with fundamental shifts in online shopping patterns as we try to navigate the 'new normal'.


“It’s easy to think the world has stopped and life is put on hold but our data tells a different story. We are all going through similar experiences and buying lots of the same things, at the same times.

“Our RedBrain Insights offer a view into our changing online shopping habits from initial panic for hygiene and foodstuffs to longer term purchases such as seeds, garden equipment and cycling equipment,” he added.

“Is the nation settling down into the new ’normal’? it’s hard to tell at the moment but the insights into purchasing and volumes certainly show that online retail is evolving but healthy and the UK should hopefully be racking up the miles on their bikes long after lockdown has ended,” he added.

In recent months, we’ve reported on how sales have boomed among bike retailers due to the coronavirus pandemic, with one comparing trading to the pre-Christmas period.

> As UK bike sales boom … Maybe bicycles REALLY ARE “the new toilet paper”

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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