Swiss e-Bike Sales Continues to Rise
In Switzerland, e-bikes have been a story of success in recent years. And that story goes on, as e-Bike sales rose by an impressive
BASEL, Switzerland – In Switzerland, e-bikes have been a story of success in recent years. And that story goes on, as e-Bike sales rose by an impressive 44% in 2010.
When the sales of e-bikes got counted for the first time in 2005, about 1800 units were sold in Switzerland. According to New Ride, an agency founded to promote e-bikes on a community level, those numbers doubled year by year. And still technically refined and more reliable products, more appealing designs and new brands continue to boost both the sales and the market share of e-bikes.
In 2010, approximately 40,000 electric bicycles were sold in Switzerland, which means that one out of every nine bicycles sold had a battery and some sort of electric assistance. Thanks to this trend bicycle retailers also get new customers, as elderly people, families with small children and commuters show an increased appetite for bicycles. From a retailers’ perspective, the higher average turnover per unit adds to the overall turnover, a welcome extra in economically difficult times. After all, Switzerland’s mainly export-oriented industry has been through some harsh times seen the erosion of the euro’s value.
In the early years, the Swiss e-bike market was decidedly – well, Swiss. Customers and retailers both preferred domestic products as these promised short distances to the manufacturers if there should be any problems. This led to a market where BikeTec’s ‘Flyer’ became synonymous for the entire e-bike category: Customers would come into bike shops asking for a ‘Flyer’ when in fact they were looking for general information on e-bikes. A few years ago, BikeTec’s market share was estimated well above 80% in Switzerland.
This dominance has withered in recent years as other brands came up with marketable products. The most recent newcomer on Switzerland’s e-bike market is Tour de Suisse with its ‘Impulse’ series, others like Komenda with its own Cresta brand and as Swiss distributor of Giant/LaFree and UltraMotor or intercycle as distributor of BionX stepped into the market a bit earlier. Thoemus has opened special stores in a number of Swiss cities just to sell its ‘Stromer’ e-Bike and recently announced that they now have a distributor for the US market as well. With Bosch as a major industrial player entering the market, even more and bigger brands are getting into the mix.
Interestingly, e-bike sales were even stronger in the second half of 2010, as estimates based on the first half of the year expected annual sales to reach 35’000 rather than 40’000 units. By the way, as the sales of wholesalers and supermarkets are only estimated, there’s a certain inaccuracy in these numbers, but the same goes for the numbers of the entire Swiss bicycle market. Another interesting detail is that the number of commuter bikes (with fenders, rack and lights) sold in 2010 has declined by 15’000 units. Industry insiders say that these sales went to the growing e-bike segment.