The rise of e-bikes in the Netherlands and the EU seems unstoppable and may indicate a similar trend in e-bike sales in the United States with e-bikes becoming the dominant product line in bicycle sales for adults.
The Dutch Love Cycling
The total revenue of all newly sold bicycles (including e-bikes) in 2022 in the Netherlands grew by 0.9 percent to €1,515,719,000, although the number of newly sold bicycles decreased by almost 7 percent, to 855,000 units. The average selling price of a new bicycle increased by 8.9 percent compared to 2021, to €1,772, due to the limited availability and rising prices of components, as well as the larger share of e-bikes in sales.
"The numbers speak for themselves: 2022 was a good year for cycling in the Netherlands," says Maarten Akkers, chairman of BOVAG Bicycle Companies. "The Netherlands has always been a real cycling country, and e-bikes increase the average distance people travel on a bike. In this way, this essential means of transport keeps up with the times and ensures that the Netherlands stays in motion."
The Dutch Love E-bikes
Out of the 855,000 bicycles sold new in 2022 in the Netherlands, 486,000 were e-bikes (57 percent). Of the total revenue from newly sold bicycles (1.5 billion euros), 80 percent could be attributed to e-bikes. The share of e-bikes, both in numbers and revenue, has been rising for 10 consecutive years. These figures, from the annual survey by GfK commissioned by RAI Vereniging and BOVAG, were announced during the Bicycle Awards 2023.
According to Huub Lamers, chairman of the Bicycle section of RAI Vereniging, "E-bikes are an excellent alternative to cars for more and more commuters … After all, you go green, healthy and smiling past the traffic jam. In our view, this is a very positive development."
The rise in e-bike sales in the Netherlands is similar to other markets in Europe. The EU e-bike market is expected to continue to expand in the coming years, with experts predicting that pedal-assisted bike sales will grow from 3.7 million to 17 million per year by 2030.
A Growing Demand for E-bikes in the United States
E-bike sales also have been growing in the United States in recent years, but at a much lower pace. The number of e-bikes sold in the US increased from 263,000 in 2017 to over 400,000 in 2018. Compare this to the 486,000 e-bikes sold in the Netherlands, a country of some 17.5 million people compared to 332 million inhabitants in the United States.
The pandemic boosted e-bike sales in the US, with a 145% increase in e-bike sales from 2019 to 2020, more than double the rate of classic bikes. Additionally, e-bikes outsold four-wheeled electric vehicles more than two to one in the US in 2020 and it is expected that this trend continues.
The growing popularity of e-bikes in the US can be attributed to several factors, such as the push towards more sustainable modes of transportation, advances in e-bike technology, and the increasing number of companies entering the market.
We see this modest growth in e-bike sales despite limited consumer demand, the poor availability of quality e-bikes, inadequate safety standards, a tsunami of inferior products flooding the US E-bike market and limited urban cycling infrastructure in the United States.
Although the e-bike market in the United States is currently minor compared to Europe, it is expected to grow in the upcoming years.
The increasing popularity of e-bikes as an alternative means of transportation could lead to more interest in e-bikes in the US market, especially with the introduction of government incentives such as the refundable tax credit for e-bike purchases.
It's likely that the e-bike industry will keep expanding and evolving in the United States, as an increasing number of individuals adopt this eco-friendly and practical means of transportation. However, it may take several generations for the adoption rates to match those seen in Europe.