If you’re thinking of buying a bicycle these days, you better think fast and prepare for a bit of a wait. The COVID-19 crisis has led to a surge in bicycle demand around the world, stretching global supply chains to their limits.
As our chart based on UN trade statistics and data from the National Bicycle Dealers Association shows, bicycles made in China have dominated the U.S. bike market for years, consistently accounting for more than 90 percent of total bicycle imports and sales. According to the NBDA, domestic production in 2015 was estimated at around 200,000 units, amounting to a market share of little more than 1 percent.
Last year, the United States imported 15.3 million bicycles from China following a dip in imports in 2019 likely caused by the the trade war between the two countries. While Chinese imports were roughly in line with pre-pandemic, pre-trade-war levels in 2020, imports from other countries were significantly higher. While non-Chinese imports averaged 1.2 million bikes per year between 2015 and 2019, they surged to 2 million in 2020.