The coronavirus lockdown closed down public transport for all but essential journeys from mid-March, leading thousands of Brits to buy a new bike, according to the UK’s Bicycle Association. Bike sales increased by 63% year-on-year between April and June 2020. Similarly, the DfT found cycling levels increased by 300% during lockdown.
Halfords has been among those leading the push with a greatly improved brand health throughout the duration of the pandemic, according to new YouGov BrandIndex data.
At the start of lockdown Halfords’ Consideration scores rose from 26.4 on March 23rd to 34.7 on April 1st, an increase of 8.4 points (whether someone would consider purchasing from the brand in future). Consideration for the brand peaked a further four times throughout the pandemic as change to the Government’s handling of coronavirus were announced.
In the lead-up to the Easter break Consideration scores increased 8.7 points. It rose a further 8.3 points in the lead-up to the early May bank holiday, another 8.1 points after the Spring bank holiday, and 9.2 points more after the hospitality sector was allowed to open on July 4th.
Generally good weather throughout the majority of the past four months no doubt also encouraged more to consider cycling, and it’s worth noting that Halfords not only stocks bikes but also car parts. However, it’s clear to see that generally Halfords has enjoyed the benefits of so many people searching for alternative ways to get around.
Since lockdown began to ease in July, and Britons were no longer encouraged to avoid public transport, Consideration scores started to decline for Halfords. However, at the end of July the Government launched the long-awaited bike repair scheme offering £50 vouchers to cyclists in an effort to relieve pressure of public transport and reduce air pollution.
Since then, Halfords has been publicising the scheme and their ability to cope with any influx of cyclists, something that smaller shops may struggle with, leading to Consideration scores starting to uptick again. As lockdown eases further though only time will tell if Britain’s sudden cycling interest was just a by-product of the lockdown.