News Article

Import Statistics Show that 2015 Was Mediocre Year

Sales & Trends

BRUSSELS, Belgium – It was indicated earlier through various signals but the latest import figures for regular bicycles as well as e-bikes and speed e-bikes (speed pedelecs) confirm it: 2015 was a mediocre year. At least that is when Eurostat import data is regarded as a sales indicator.

Import Statistics Show that 2015 Was Mediocre Year
Latest import data underlines the trend that the popularity of electric bicycles comes at the expense of regular bike sales. – Photo Sparta

Viewing the Eurostat (EU’s data bureau) data in detail it shows that the import of ‘regular’ bicycles dropped in 2015. That drop stood at 3.3%. However, when including the import data for 25 km/h electric bicycles as well we for speed e-bikes, than the drop is turned into an increase. But that growth is limited to only 2.3%.

GSP countries on the rise

What stands out in particular in the 2015 import data for regular bicycles is the performance the countries show that have GSP+ status. These countries – Bangladesh, Cambodia, Philippines, and Tunisia – profit from their import duty-free status that is granted through them through the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Through this system the European Union grants underdeveloped countries and economies (import) tariff benefits. It saves Bangladesh, Cambodia, Philippines, and Tunisia 14% import duty which is levied on bicycles that are imported into the (still) 28 member states of the European Union.

Cambodia scored highest import growth

Of the four GSP+ countries Cambodia scored the highest import growth rate in 2015 compared to 2014. The country exported 14.2% more regular bicycles to the European Union markets, to a total of close to 1.4 million units.

If the imports from Cambodia continue to grow with the pace it showed in the past years it is likely that the country will turn into Europe’s biggest bike supplier. With that it is to replace Taiwan as leading bicycle export nation to the EU.

Imports from Bangladesh also increased by double digits to close to 750,000 units, while the imports from the Philippines dropped to close to 7% or 850,000 units. Tunisia’s bicycle export flattened out at 420,000 units.

As for the value of the bicycle exports to Europe; for all countries a significant rise in value per exported bike is recorded. Of course this is triggered by the depreciation of the euro against the US dollar that took place in 2015, which triggered price increases.

E-bike popularity

Last year the e-bike and speed e-bike imports (from outside the EU as well as from other EU countries) showed huge growth in Europe’s main markets. Close to 50% growth was recorded. A total of nearly 970,000 e-bikes were imported.

As in all reports on bicycle sales in various European markets regular bikes and e-bikes are combined in the overviews. Here too it shows that the overall import figure stands at close to 8.5 million (electric) bikes imported in 2015; up some 190,000 or 2.3% on the 2014 total. The share of 25km/h electric bicycles and speed e-bikes in that import total stood in 2015 at 11.5%. That share was larger than the 8.0% total of 2014. A 3.5% growth in one year is significant and underlines the trend that the popularity of electric bicycles comes at the expense of regular bike sales.