Taipei Cycle 2017; Bright Outlook as E-Bike Significance Grows
DOETINCHEM, The Netherlands – What will Taipei Cycle 2017 bring? With the show opening its doors in just a few hours this question will be on the minds of lots of bike professionals. In particular after a disappointing (to say the least) 2016. Will the sector return to the dynamism that characterized the markets in 2014 and 2015? With the ever-growing importance of e-bikes the near future looks bright.
Are e-bikes even capable of dampening the industry’s volatility that brought troubles to many last year? And in particular to the ones that invested heavily and planned big thinking that what happened in 2014 and 2015 marked a breakthrough for bicycles and e-bikes with interest rising to new highs. Even from other industries and from the world’s retail giants. Are electric bicycles making strategic longer term planning possible (as well as necessary) as consumer buying behavior for these products differ from that for regular bikes. This becomes evident when looking at 2016 trends.
Accell Group stands out
Weather conditions in the first seven months spoiled 2016. But what’s striking is that those companies that are big in e-bikes didn’t suffer that much or were even able to grow. In this respect Accell Group stands out; Europe’s biggest in electric bikes and maybe also the world’s biggest. Accell’s bicycle and e-bike sale increased by 9.3% higher on the back of increased e-bike sales. Haibike, Ghost and Lapierre branded e-MTBs proved again to be the Accell trump card. Total turnover in e-bikes was up 33%, while turnover in regular bicycles declined by 11%. The company reported “Growing numbers of consumers are choosing an e-bike to replace non-electric bikes.” Over 50% of Accell Group’s turnover made with bicycle sales came from e-bikes in 2016; it increased from 45% in 2015 to 55% in 2016.
The 2016 poor spring and early summer weather resulted in overstock at in particular OEMs as dealers tend to limit their stocks nowadays. Clearance sales took place in Q3 and Q4. According to the 2016 financial reports of Accell Group, Dorel Industries and Shimano, “inventories were adjusted to an appropriate level thanks to good weather from July onward,” states Shimano in it financial report.
Regular bikes down; e-bikes up
That inventories have been adjusted is also underlined by the 2016 export figures of Taiwan’s bicycle industry. In the first ten months of 2016 total export dropped by 26% compared to the same period of 2015; export to Europe was down by a huge 25%! These figures are excluding e-bikes.
Compared to regular bikes ‘Taiwan’ did much better with e-bikes. The Taiwan Bicycle Association reported a “strong and steady growth” on the export of electric bicycles. Total export upped big, by 83% to over 110,000 units in the first ten months of 2016. With that the Taiwan industry is gaining a foothold in the all-important mid to hi-end segments of the e-bike markets; contrary to Chinese exports which continue to linger at the low to mid-end market segments.
The 2017 Taipei Cycle show will undoubtedly demonstrate that the Taiwan industry focus is on e-bikes.