Key market trends
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AT THE TOP OF THE AGENDA
Cycling is at the top of the political agenda across Europe, as various governments and the EU are making subsidy schemes available to stimulate safe and affordable bicycle use. After electrification, investment in cycling infrastructure is the biggest long-term growth driver of the cycling business after electrification. On top of this many governments are now encouraging the use of e-bikes by offering subsidies or fiscal stimulation to buy bicycles. Bicycles in general and e-bikes in particular are increasingly considered an important part of the solution to congestion in cities, safer city transport, CO2 reduction and healthier lifestyles.
The European Union and various individual European countries backed up by the European Commission’s announcement of the New Green Deal for Europe in December 2019, have one common goal: improving people's well-being and making Europe climate neutral. This initiative will clearly support the roll-out of cleaner, cheaper, and healthier forms of private and public transport.
COVID-19 PANDEMIC ACCELERATES TREND
The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated these trends, as it has forced governments, companies, and people to reflect on how we live, work, and move. So far, 34 European cities have spent more than EUR 1 billion on cycling infrastructure across Europe since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and many European governments have introduced subsidies for bike purchases or paying for bike repairs. Three European cycling associations / industry organisations(1) estimated that the European bicycle market is heading for a total sales market of more than 30 million new bicycles a year by 2030, with nearly 18 million of these e-bikes.
INCREASED FOCUS ON ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND GOVERNANCE (ESG)
Amidst the turbulence of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a sharp increase in the focus on environmental, social and governance topics. There is now widespread awareness of the urgency of investing in greater sustainability, ESG reforms and ESG key performance indicators. This is increasing the pressure on corporates to reduce CO2 emissions throughout the supply chain, with a stronger focus on social values, such as diversity, community spending, and consumer and stakeholder engagement. And more focus on a robust governance structure, comprehensive disclosures and high transparency and reporting standards.
People are increasingly looking for a healthier lifestyle by engaging in physical activities, such as cycling and other sports. They attach more value to a healthy balance between their work and their free time. They want to be fitter and in better shape. Cycling is healthy and fun and a low-impact form of exercise for all ages. In addition, consumers want the products they use to be safe and smart and contribute to a healthy and environmentally and socially responsible lifestyle. COVID-19 and the Green Deal have accelerated and reinforced this important trend.
SHIFT FROM OWNING TO BIKE-SHARING
We are in the midst of an ongoing shift from bike ownership to bike sharing/leasing, which is boosting total bike market growth. Leasing, rental, and bike-sharing concepts are popping up in the bicycle market in many big cities. Bike leasing is taking off in countries that offer substantial tax breaks to users and employers (Germany and Belgium), boosting e-bike market growth just as we have seen subsidies boost electric car sales in many countries. Successful rental concepts seem to be having the biggest impact in larger student cities replacing the second-hand traditional bike markets. The bike-sharing schemes in bigger cities remarkably show that over 47% of new users had moved from walking to bike-sharing, and not from driving to cycling, saying it was too tiring to walk their entire journey and cycling cut travel times.
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