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.
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.