Pinoys’ most searched wheels post-lockdown: bicycles

Published September 8, 2020, 6:23 PM

by Inigo Roces

BIKE PARKING – The city government has installed a bicycle parking area in the vicinity of Lake Drive as part of the bike lanes project in Baguio City. (Photo by Zaldy Comanda)

Just a few months ago, while Filipinos were quarantined at home, their car browsing habits yielded surprising results. Quite surprisingly, electric car brand, Tesla, was a top placer among searches, even though the vehicle is not even sold in the Philippines.

With travel restrictions lifted and many now able to take their cars out again, iPrice Group, the aggregator e-commerce platform that brought us the last set of search results have surprised us again.

According to recent study by iPrice Group, Filipinos searched bicycles nearly three times as much in June (post lockdown) as compared to April. From May to June (since the recent GCQ), the interest in bicycles has been on a steep upward trajectory.

The newfound popularity of bicycles is not just limited to developed cities like Singapore, where bicycle shops are running out of stock as people cycle around the small Lion City to avoid the risks of public transportation.

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Philippine government has limited the use of public transportation, halving the capacity of these vehicles and preventing some forms from operating altogether.

This has left many public transport drivers and conductors at a loss. Hence, it makes sense how this year’s Google searches for bicycles is 163% more than last year’s, as commuters have more difficulty getting to work or buying essentials.

Mountain, road, and BMX

iPrice has also analyzed the kinds of bikes Filipinos have searched for. Mountain bikes are the Filipinos’ top choice. It accounts for 42% of the total Google searches on different bicycles. The group hypothesizes that people living outside Metro Manila prefer mountain bikes since it can easily be used in off-road routes. This doesn’t discount the fact that mountain bikes are used to get around the city as well. It’s quite possible they’re also chosen because cycling in Metro Manila can be a bumpy ride since the roads aren’t always well-maintained. Their versatility is probably what made it the top choice.

Road bicycles are the second most popular in the country. Given that Metro Manila had one of the most stringent measures in movement control by limiting public transportation, it makes sense that people commute with road bicycles.

Surprisingly, the simple, gearless bicycle motocross (BMX) is still in as it’s the Filipinos’ third choice. These bicycles are usually used for racing or stunt riding, but can also adapt to off-road riding. Their reasonable price, light weight, speed, and simple mechanics are probably why many Filipinos choose this bicycle to get around. It is also worthy to note that some people may just have picked up freestyle riding as a quarantine sport.

Filipinos are also exploring other modern ways of single-person vehicles. The Google search volume of e-bikes increased by a shocking 189% in May, while e-scooters increased by 151%. Both types of vehicles are good for the environment as they aren’t fueled by petrol. This is a huge plus for many consumers due to the long-term advantages in cost and environmental sustainability.

With the Philippines’ rising coronavirus cases and continuous strict lockdown measures, bicycle lanes may just be part of the new normal.

iPrice Group and methodology

iPrice recorded the Google search volume via Keyword Planner on curated keywords of bicycles, cycling, and each type of bicycle in the Philippines. They compared a month by month search volume increase in 2020 and compared it to the same period of 2019.

iPrice Group is a meta-search website operating in seven countries across Southeast Asia namely; Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. Currently, iPrice compares and catalogues more than 1.5 billion and receives about 20 million monthly visits across the region. iPrice currently operates three business lines: price comparison for electronics and health & beauty; product discovery for fashion and home & living; and coupons across all verticals.