News Article

Dutch E-bike Sales Show Trend Break

Sales & Trends

AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands – While the Dutch e-bike market is often regarded as an example for other countries, its performance in 2012 was not as fortunate as during the past decade.

Dutch E-bike Sales Show Trend Break
Less e-bikes sold in the Netherlands; new trend or minor dip?

“It looks as if the growth in the number of e-bikes sold, as well as the increase in the average price in the Netherlands is slowly coming to a halt,” said Niels van Steijn of the GfK Retail and Technology Benelux at his 2012 market data presentation at the Congress organized by Bike Europe’s sister magazine ‘Tweewieler’ held last Monday.

Trend break
“Between January and October 2012, 146,282 e-bikes were sold in the Netherlands. That’s slightly less than in the same period in 2011. Money wise the market dropped by 12%. This is the first time that the Dutch e-bike market dropped in volume and in euro’s since the electric bike boom started in 2004.”

GfK is not able to pinpoint the reasons behind the drop in sales. “We do not know whether this decline is the result of the cold spring and rainy summer during the months at which sales normally peaks or whether it’s because of the current low consumer confidence,” said Niels van Steijn. “We will have to wait till next year to determine whether this is a trend break of just a one-of dip in sales.”

Other segments
However, what is clear is that the sales drop in e-bike does not stand on its own. Also in other segments, the Dutch IBDs had to suffer double digit losses at their bike sales. Here’s the decrease per segment:

  • City bikes                      – 23%
  • Hybrid bikes                  – 16%
  • Road race                      – 14%
  • Kids bikes                     – 21%

The Dutch IBDs are losing market share in the city bike segment to DIY stores. Such stores managed to grown their turnover by 7% in the January to October 2012 period. Money wise the Dutch IBDs have a market share of 95% and volume wise of 80%. In the Netherlands e-bike are almost exclusively sold through the dealer channel.

Despite disappointing e-bike sales, the average sales price of all bikes sold increased from 645 euro in 2011 to 668 euro in 2012.

Market penetration
The e-bike has always been and still is a product for the elderly in Holland. Currently 80% of all electric bikes is sold to people over 50 and 50% to people older than 65 years. This is changing slowly thanks to marketing campaigns by (e-)bike manufacturers. Once they manage to catch the interest of younger consumers for electric bikes, the industry will open up a huge market potential. Today one out of every five bicycle sold in the Netherlands is an e-bike and 10% of all households owns an electric bicycle.

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