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Market Report NL: Huge Growth in Dutch E-Bike Sales in 2015

Sales & Trends

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands – While cycling is such a common habit in the Netherlands that nobody is aware the rest of the world envies its bike traffic jams, cycling infrastructure, and multi-storey bicycle parking garages, the Dutch have now also gone crazy for e-bikes. In 2015 sales levels jumped nearly 24%, to 276,000 units and the e-bike now has a 28% market share.

Market Report NL: Huge Growth in Dutch E-Bike Sales in 2015
Despite growth in e-bike sales total bicycle sales in the Netherlands declined to lowest level in more than a decade. – Photo Bike Europe

When the Dutch industry-association Rai announced the 2015 sales figures for bicycles and e-bikes – the figures for e-bikes and speed e-bikes stood out. This sales hike made the average sales price for each new bike sold at Dutch IBDs reach record a level of over one thousand euro; € 1,058 to be exact. For the total market the average retail price increased from € 844 to € 914.

Substantial decline in volume

But, despite the record high average price, the industry organization also had to report a substantial decline in volume. Last year the market could no longer hold the 1 million mark in units. Volume declined by 6.4% to 983,000 units, the lowest level in more than a decade. Accell Group reported in its financial statement for 2015 that sales in the specialist retail sector were down, partly due to the impact of the termination of the corporate bicycle scheme in 2014. This did indeed spark a considerable increase in sales at the end of 2014, with the end of the scheme in sight.

Growth in total turnover

In turnover the market still showed some growth, 1.4% to nearly € 900 million. Until now the e-bike has been taking market share of the traditional city bike and the hybrid bike slowly. But the e-bike hike in sales last year made clear that it is no longer a question of ‘if’ but only ‘when’ the e-bike will be the largest category in the Netherlands. As noted, the e-bike has a market share of 28% now, compared to 21% in 2014.

In units the sales of city bikes declined by 23% and its market share dropped from 51% in 2014 to 42% last year. Also, hybrid bike sales slid in volume by more than 30%, now holding a market share of only 5%. Five years ago this was still 10%. That the importance of the e-bike is increasing as a mode of mobility was shown by a study of the Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis (KiM) last year. More than 12% of all cycling kilometres are now ridden on an e-bike.

The average distance people ride on an e-bike is half as long as on a regular bike. For commuting trips, the difference is even twice as high. These remarkable statistics on e-bikes are excluding the sales of speed e-bikes. In 2015 the number of speed e-bikes registered for a license plate jumped by 43% to 3,571.

Growing competition of webshops

Compared to 2014, the market share of the Dutch IBDs in units remained pretty stable at 70%, compared to 71% in 2014. It seems a clear indication of the consumers’ appreciation of the retailers’ expertise and reliability when it comes to purchasing a bicycle and an e-bike in particular. However this figure does not reflect the growing competition of webshops entering the market successfully.

Accell Group reported in its financial statement for 2015 that the company’s decline in turnover in the Netherlands was largely the result of the strong competition from e-bikes and the growth in popularity of other sales channels. The profitability and open bicycle market has raised the interest of new retail parties to enter the bicycle and e-bike market, as shown by the recent announcement of IKEA and Media Market.

Decathlon opened 6th store

French sporting goods retail giant Decathlon’s ongoing attempts to enter the Dutch market proved successful last year. At the end of November Decathlon opened its 6th store in the Netherlands in the southern city of Breda. The offer in Breda consists of over 47,000 products for 65 sports of which Decathlon offers a wide variety of own brands, including B’Twin for bicycles.

In the second quarter of 2016 Decathlon is to open its 7th store in the Netherlands. This one will be located in the city centre of Rotterdam at the prestigious Coolsingel and will have a total floor area of about 5,000m², making it the largest inner-city sports shop in the Netherlands. This immediately reflects Decathlon’s problems entering the Dutch retail landscape, which has only a limited number of shopping areas with large floor spaces.

Decathlon also has to deal with a lot of opposition from local and regional authorities throughout the country when applying to open a large-scale store outside the designated shopping areas.

More market report on the Netherlands and other European countries

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