Demand for cycling equipment in the last year has given the industry massive push. Bicycle sales in 2010 increased by 28 per cent when compared to 2009. This resulted in 3.7 million bicycles being sold that year which raised £51 million for manufacturers.
Last year the number of cyclists in the UK increased by one million bringing the total number to 13 million people. People spent £1.5 billion on bicycles and a further £850 million on accessories. The industry in now estimated to be worth around £2.9 billion per year.
23,000 people now work in the industry, which contributes approximately £600 million to the economy in tax and wages each year. With the increase in sales, many more commercial properties are being turned into bike shops to keep up with the demand.
There are also incentives to get people to cycle to their office instead of adding to the congestion, such as the ‘cycle to work’ scheme. The scheme could give you up to 52 per cent off the cost of a new bike and the payments can be spread over a year, which are interest free. The scheme works by allowing employees a tax immunity on Income Tax, National Insurance and VAT.
The London School of Economics (LSE) produced a report on the cycle industry which said, “Rising fuel costs, improved cycle networks, concern for the environment, and the pull of the Olympics are all possible factors for the increase in popularity for cycling.” The report also showed that cyclists take on average 1.3 per cent less sick days than non-cyclists. Although this is only a small percentage, it could potentially save companies £128 million from absenteeism, which could save £2 billion over the next decade. Stewart Kellett from British Cycling agreed with the findings by saying, “This report is further evidence that when more people get involved in cycling there are measurable benefits to the individual, their family, their employer, the environment and the economy as whole.”
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