Industry organisations expect difficult market in 2023

BRUSSELS, Belgium – “The energy crisis and a challenging geopolitical situation will make 2023 a difficult year for the bicycle industry,” said Erhard Büchel as president of WBIA (World Bicycle Industry Alliance). “However, we see tremendous interest in cycling and that will not disappear. I am therefore very optimistic about the prospects of the bicycle industry.”
The rebalance of the market next year was discussed at the WBIA annual General Meeting. – Photo WBIA

Erhard Büchel’s statement reflects the general feeling among the members of the WBIA. Larry Pizzi from the Board of Directors of the US People for Bikes stated that, “even though unit sales have plateaued in the past year, we see the market value being strong. Importantly, cycling participation in the US remains elevated over the pre-pandemic level. Once people discover cycling there is no way back.”

Rebalancing the market

The WBIA members gathered online at the end of October for the annual General Assembly. They reported that supply chain disruptions which dominated the discussion last year remain an issue; however, most manufacturers managed to refill their stocks amid the increased optimism fueled by the extraordinary consumer demand. At the same time, a degree of market rebalancing can be expected next year, accompanied by a cooling of growth.

WBIA is responsible for proposing a new definition of a ‘cycle’

United Nations

Following up on adoption of the first-ever Pan-European Masterplan for Cycling Promotion, a new Expert Group on Cycling Infrastructure was formed, with the active participation of the WBIA, the organisation reports. Among other things, the United Nations’ expert group is working on harmonisation of signs and signals for cyclists and cycling infrastructure all over the world as well as to improve definitions and standards linked to cycling – for example, WBIA is responsible for proposing a new definition of a ‘cycle’, allowing for an expansion of the UN rules to officially acknowledge the rise of e-bikes from a global definition standpoint.

Furthermore, the WBIA has continued engaging in discussions about new rules and regulatory proposals linked to the automated and connected vehicle communication with special focus on VRU safety. Further development of automatic emergency braking, information awareness and blind spot information systems for cars and trucks have the potential to greatly contribute to the safety of cyclists everywhere and are being constantly improved.

Tectonic shift in mobility

WBIA also reports ongoing conversations on how to approach the rise of new personal mobility devices such as e-scooters within the UN regulatory frameworks. “We will continue working to make sure that bicycles remain clearly distinguished from such devices, while supporting development of future proof rules that reflect their growing presence in the streets,” the industry organisation stated.

On the topic of future mobility, AICMA president Rajagopal U. reported, “a tectonic shift in mobility coming up with more green and e-mobility solutions, in India and beyond. With an emerging economy and an extraordinarily young demographics, Indians are bound to embrace even more cycling; we can be confident about the future of the bicycle industry.”

Global market report

In the upcoming week, the WBIA will report their first global market report, which includes market intelligence from key markets. The report will be published annually, with an ambition to provide a comprehensive overview of the global bicycle market developments.

The members of WBIA include: Cycle Manufacturers Association (AICMA), the Bicycle and Motorcycle Industry Association of Russia (NADBM), Industry association of Mexico (ANAFABI), Bicycle Association Japan (BAJ) and CONEBI (Europe).