News Article

Electrification of EU Bike Markets Speeds Up

Sales & Trends

AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands – Every main European bike market showed impressive growth figures in 2014 for the sale of e-bikes, including the new categories of e-MTB’s and speed e-bikes. Are e-bike sales in Europe starting to accelerate?

Electrification of EU Bike Markets Speeds Up

Of all the important bike markets in the European Union, France recorded the biggest increase in e-bike sales in 2014. Volume rose 37% to 77,500 electric bicycles sold. But as this total is still relatively small, such a big growth rate is pretty obvious. However, in Germany, the largest e-bike market in Europe, sales also increased by a big percentage; no less than a 17% jump, which resulted in total sales of 480,000 e-bikes.

The Netherlands, currently EU’s second biggest e-bike market, also showed big double digit growth and the same happened in the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium.

EU E-Bike & Speed E-Bike Sales (in units)

2010 500,000
2011 700,000
2012 900,000
2013 1,100,000
2014 1,325,000*

Source: Accell Group
* Estimate Bike Europe

Eurostat import data

Where did all this take the e-bike market in Europe in 2014? Bike Europe dug deeper into this question, in order to provide an educated estimate on the total number of electric bikes sold last year, based on the information that is available. That data originated from industry associations’ annual market reports, from Europe’s biggest name in e-bikes – Accell Group, from Bike Europe’s correspondents, and from Eurostat import data for e-bike and speed e-bikes.

The Eurostat import figures for the specific CN Codes in place for electric bicycles and for e-bikes with auxiliary motors with continuous rated power of over 250 Watt (speed e-bikes) also showed a big increase. Not double digits, but at 9%, still a strong showing. Over 650,000 e-bikes and speed e-bikes were imported into the EU markets in 2014.

China biggest supplier

There’s no surprise that Europe’s biggest e-bike supplier by far is China. Close to 80% of all imported e-bikes originate from China – a total of some 515,000 units in 2014. For these imports, unlike regular bicycles, no anti-dumping duty (48.5%) is levied. The China-made e-bikes also come into the EU markets with a lower import duty rate (6%) compared to regular bicycles, which have a 14% import duty rate.

Europe’s biggest in e-bikes said this in its 2014 results and repeated it in the company’s trading update last April, “The electric bicycle is gaining popularity in countries where the e-bike market is still limited, such as France, the United Kingdom, and the Scandinavian countries.”

That growing popularity in those countries is also reflected in the 2014 e-bike sales numbers. As reported on the cover page of this issue, all the named markets showed big, double digit increase in electric bike sales.

Unexpected success of e-MTB’s

Accell Group reported in its 2014 financial report that electric bike sales were 23% higher compared to 2013. Last year a big 41% of the company’s total bicycle sale revenue was made with e-bikes. What contributed to the 23% higher sales (in units) in particular was the unexpected sales success of e-MTB’s in Germany. Even Accell CEO René Takens was surprised by this as he pointed out at the press conference on the 2014 results.

Despite that success and the fact that Accell’s e-bike sales were up 23% in units in 2014, the holding company’s estimate on the total volume of the 2014 e-bike market in Europe is very conservative. In its annual report the company lists e-bike sales in Europe in the period 2010 – 2014. According to Accell, 2010 e-bikes sales stood at 500,000 units in 2010 and came in at 1,200,000 in 2014. That’s a pretty low estimate.

2014 market volume

As there’s no other source for data on e-bike sales in Europe this trade journal quotes from Accell Group’s annual report. With 1.2 million e-bikes sold in Europe Accell Group estimates that the market volume increased by only 100,000 units last year. That’s obviously not correct. In particular as sales growth in units in Europe’s biggest e-bike markets Germany and the Netherlands together was already higher than 100,000 units. Last year sales in Germany increased by 70,000 units. In the Netherlands sales grew by 31,000 units. This is according to the countries’ industry associations ZIV and RAI.

Italy, Spain, and the Scandinavian countries

So, together the two countries already account for the total growth estimated by Accell, which leaves out sales growth for France (+21,000 units), for Austria (+7,000 units), for Switzerland (+8,200 units) for Belgium (+21,000 units) and for the UK (+11,000 units). Including the 2014 sales growth of these five countries, which amounts to some 70,000 units altogether, the total market volume already stands at close to 1.3 million units. However, this still leaves out growing e-bikes sales in other main European bike markets like Italy, Spain, and the Scandinavian countries. No 2014 data is available yet from these countries. But in Italy electric bike sales stood at over 50,000 units in 2013 according to industry association ANCMA.

A (modest) estimate on the market volume for the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland) as well as Spain stands at another 50,000 units. Taking into account sales growth in these countries as well as Italy, Bike Europe’s estimate on the volume of the e-bike, e-MTB and speed e-bike market in Europe in 2014 stands at 1,325,000 units.

The increased 2014 volume of 225,000 e-bikes sold compared to the 2013 total of 1.1 million units means that the market has grown by 20.4%. Such growth justifies the conclusion that the electrification of the e-bike market in Europe is speeding up.

Imports

2014 e-bike imports into the 28 member states of the European Union (excluding Switzerland and Norway, which are not EU members) stood at 655,790 units, according to the EU’s data bureau Eurostat. With that 49.5% of all e-bikes sold in Europe in 2014 were imported ones.

E-Bike (25km/h) Import into EU

2014 2013 2014 vs. 2013
Units 416.627 405.255 2,81%
Value € 179.263.142 € 155.088.623 15,59%
Average value € 430,27 € 382,69 12,43%

Source: Eurostat CN Code 87119010

Speed E-Bike (over 25km/h) Import into EU

2014 2013 2014 vs. 2013
Units 239.163 196.098 21,96%
Value € 99.955.710 € 79.614.871 25,55%
Average value € 417,94 € 406,00 2,94%

Source: Eurostat CN Code 87119090

As pointed out Eurostat tracks these imports with two specific CN Codes. One for 25 km/h electric bicycles and one for speed e-bikes with auxiliary motors with a continuous rated power of over 250 watts. 63.5% of the imported e-bikes are 250W – 25km/h models; 36.5% are speed e-bikes. This category showed the biggest import growth in 2014; approximately 22%. This reflects the current trend in the EU markets, where speed e-bikes are on the march.

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