Electric bike expertise

In Germany, electric bike sales set to surpass pedal cycle sales this year

Electric bike sales in Germany are expected to surpass half of all bike sales in 2023, yet 90% of all mountain bikes sold are now electric!

New market research stemming from a German bicycle industry association today reveals that electric bike sales are almost certain to overtake those of pedal cycles this year. The sales figures in Germany alone actually outstrip all of Europe’s electric car sales (1.6 million), giving you some idea of just how popular electric bike riding is becoming against other modern transport forms.

2022 was another year of progression for the electric bike space across Europe, but Germany remains a hotspot, trailing only The Netherlands in reaching the historic milestone. In 2022, 48% of bike sales were pedal-assisted when all categories are accounted for.

Astonishingly, when zooming in on the mountain bike sector, nearly 90% of all sales had pedal assist’ some 836,000 out of 931,600 units sold. Yes, you read that right.

For added context, there is an emerging belief that difficulty with seasonal unpredictability in the ski industry is likely to benefit the mountain biker, whose season may well be enhanced as resorts adapt to snow melting faster. In considering this ZIV is calling for an amendment to the German Federal Forest Act to deliver uniform regulation on free access to forests for mountain bikers.

Back to the sales trajectory and Burkhard Stork, the CEO of ZIV, which is the industry body tracking the data says “We expect e-bikes to overtake non-motorized bicycles in terms of unit sales for the first time in the course of this year.”

He adds: “In some product groups, such as mountain bikes or cargo bikes, we now have a very clear dominance of assisted vehicles in Germany.”

Overall in Germany 2.2 million electric bikes sold in 2022, which was 10% more than the boom year of 2021, although evidence of a sales slowdown was present toward the tail end of the year as the consequences of a cost of living crisis that’s being felt across much of the world began to hit spending.

Nonetheless, manufacturers are confident that electric bikes will continue to be the future that consumers wish to buy into. Production hit an all time high, up 20% to see 1.72 million e-bikes roll off German production lines.

Interestingly, jobs lost in the automotive sector, where the internal combustion engine is making way for EV tech, are being refocused on an invigorated bicycle industry.

“The bicycle industry is often underestimated in terms of its performance,” says Burkhard Stork. “Yet it makes a significant contribution to value creation in Germany and Europe and stands for sustainable products and jobs.”

Thanks to high-quality products and the high proportion of e-bikes, the industry’s sales of bicycles and e-bikes have almost quadrupled in the last 10 years: from around 2 billion euros in 2012 to 7.36 billion euros in 2022. With that comes a bustling market for engineering and assembly skills, among other associated professions.

Generally known to spend generously on their bikes, the German consumer is marginally ahead of the UK’s electric bike shopper in what they’re willing to spend. The average sales price for an electric bike is coming in at €2,800, including VAT, when considering all bike segments (including the significantly higher averages of e-cargo bikes).

In the UK, according to data gathered late in 2022 from UK trade portal Cycling Industry.News, 30% of the consumers shopping for electric bikes with independent retailers spend between £2,000 and £3,000, though this tally is much likely to be lower when national chain sales are factored in. There are now more options than ever to access e-bike riding, including leasing options.

Looking at the German bicycle and e-bike market, the ZIV sees tremendous potential. “Bicycles and e-bikes have developed into a high-quality mobility and leisure product and this quality is appreciated by consumers, as demand shows,” says Stork.

He says to the consumer that, thanks to supply chain bottlenecks, now is the time to go shopping, much thanks to the ubiquity of discounted prices: “If you look at the price trends, it’s not simply that e-bikes would become more and more expensive. Quite the opposite, you get much more bike for the money today. Now is exactly the right moment to buy a new bicycle or e-bike.”


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