E-Bike Downside: Regular Bike Drops Hard
BRUSSELS, Belgium – The import of regular bicycles into the European Union with its common market of 28 member states dropped hard last year. It downed with slightly over 10% to what probably is an all time low of 6.7 million bicycles.
Is the drop in regular bicycle import caused by the e-bike trend? Or is there more to it like a switch to a more close to market production? The latter is contradicted by the fact that the production of regular bicycles (excluding e-bikes) in the European Union dropped by 3.7% in 2016.
One million units drop
What the exact reason is for the big drop in bicycle imports last year remains for now the big question. And it comes after a year that also showed a decline. However, this one was much smaller; only 3.2% to a total import of 7.5 million bicycles in 2015. Viewing this closer and taking into account that in 2014 the total import of regular bicycles stood at 7.7 million units it leads to the conclusion that in 2 years the import dropped by a hefty one million units!
Total Import 2015 & 2016 (in units and euro)
Top-10 Suppliers, 2016 & 2015
Downfall of e-bike trend
It must be the e-bike trend that caused this drop. Their import (see the separate report) upped big time in the last two years. It grew to 1.2 million units in 2016. It leads to the conclusion that the e-bike trend is for a big part replacing regular bikes. However, this is only unit-wise; money-wise e-bikes are revolutionizing the market.
Bike supplying countries
Taiwan remained also in 2016 Europe’s biggest bike supplier. But the country’s export to Europe took a big blow last year as it dropped by over 15% to 1.5 million units. Also Cambodia took a hit in 2016 as its (duty free) export to Europe declined for the first time since Cambodia bike production was started by bike makers that stemmed from Taiwan. Number 3 bike supplier to Europe – Bangladesh (that like Cambodia can export duty free to Europe as it enjoys GSP+ conditions) saw its export remain almost flat to some 730,000 units. For the other export numbers of the main bike supplying countries to the EU; see the table on this page.