Swiss E-Bike Train Again Running at Full Speed
SOLOTHURN, Switzerland – As in other European countries also the Swiss bicycle industry benefited of much better weather conditions compared to 2013. That resulted in much improved sales. However, a wet summer prevented even better results.
Next to the weather influences the sudden exchange rate correction of the Swiss franc versus the euro creates huge uncertainty for bike sales in 2015. Since the Swiss National Bank no longer upholds a minimum rate, the rating of the euro and the Swiss franc are almost the same. At least in the border regions this has created an enormous incentive to purchase abroad.
As importers, manufacturers and dealers have responded with individual measures on this great challenge and much quicker than in a similar situation in 2011 they hope that the slump in sales will not be as massive.
45 km/h speed e-bikes
In 2014 bicycle sales in Switzerland increased by 2.4 percent to 325,900 units. Nevertheless the market is not yet back on the 2013 level when the total market amounted over 348,000 units. Last year the electric bike was Switzerland’s superstar again. In total 57,600 new e-bikes were sold of which nearly three-quarters could be attributed to the 25 m/h category. Just over a quarter of the e-bike market contains of 45 km/h speed e-bikes.
The total e-bike market increased by a big 16.7% compared to 2013. The slight decline in demand in 2013 was therefore only a short stuttering on the way to new sales records. Since 2005 more than 300,000 new e-bikes were sold in Switzerland.
City & MTB still stable
Despite the continuing electric bike boom, the normal city bike (City 28-inch and City 26-inch in the table) are able to maintain their market positions as 2014 only showed a minor decline of 1 percent. It remains to be seen whether the trend towards more e-MTBs will have a greater impact on the sales of regular mountain bikes. At the moment the MTB business revives thanks to the new wheel sizes. Thus the 27.5-inch models which were introduced as a new category boosted sales from 2,993 units in 2013 to 31,866 last year. Also the 29-inch market is still on the rise and doubled the sales number to 34,260 in 2014.
However, the off-road group is still clearly led by the 26-inch models, but this will not last long looking at the international market. Despite the government programs to stimulate fitness the sale of road race bikes is slightly declining year by year after a high in 2011. In 2014 the market showed another drop of 3.1 percent. Overall the sport segment is still in the lead with a market share of 56 percent.
IBD market share
Particularly positive are the figures on the retailers’ market share published by the industry association Velosuisse. Compared with retail chains and sports super markets they increased their market share by 2 percent to 66.5 percent. In e-bikes the IBD’s market share is much bigger, 81.9 percent. Still this is relatively low compared to other e-bike markets. In the Netherlands over 95 percent of all e-bikes are sold and distributed by the IBD retail channel. For the total market Swiss IBDs now take about two third of the Swiss cycling cake. Since 2008 this market share wasn’t that high.