Sales of children's bikes and BMXs are soaring in the run-up to Christmas. Some UK retailers have reported they are selling up to 200 percent more junior models than in 2007, despite the credit crunch.
The Evans Cycles chain says it sold somewhere in the region of 3,000 kids' bikes between 15 October and 15 November, compared with about 1,000 in the same period last year. Overall, sales of all types of bikes doubled.
And Hargroves Cycles, which has four shops and an online operation, says it is selling twice as many BMXs – thanks largely to the knock-on effects of the Government's Cycle to Work scheme.
Evans' managing director Mike Rice said: “With no obvious killer gadget on the market this year, bikes have returned to their rightful place at the top of the Christmas wish list. Bikes are a much better long-term purchase for consumers – unlike gadgets they won’t be replaced by another fad in the coming months, can be used all year round and will provide years of use.”
Mr Rice said shoppers were increasingly recognising the health benefits of cycling, and they were prepared to pay for quality products, despite the credit crunch. He said: “Not only are our unit sales up, but the average selling prices of BMXs and children’s bikes are up too. People realise bikes aren't disposable items and that investing a bit more up front will result in a more enjoyable cycling experience and pay off in the longer term.”
Matt McDonald, in charge of web sales at Hargroves Cycles, said: "We've definitely noticed the difference when it comes to BMXs – we've been selling twice as many. We're also selling more of the smaller kids' bikes – the ones with 12in, 14in or 16in wheels rather than 24in."
According to Mr McDonald, the reason for the increase in sales of children's bikes is simple. He said: "The Cycle to Work scheme has really taken off this year and it has got a lot of adults onto bikes. Now it's rubbing off on their kids, as parents try to get their whole family riding."