In its latest “sentiment barometer” for the first half of 2020, the German Bicycle Industry Association (Zweirad-Industrie-Verband e.V.; ZIV) comes to the conclusion that bicycles and e-bikes have been among the winners during the coronavirus crisis in Germany, while many other industries have suffered as a result of the global measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. A similar pattern has been observed in other European countries.
In 2019, the German bike trade already celebrated record sales, driven by the unstoppable demand for e-bikes. The year 2020 also got off to a promising start due to mild temperatures in January. But in mid-February, supply chains were disrupted or even interrupted due to factory shutdowns in China and other parts of Asia. In mid-March, bicycle stores in most German federal states had to close, and as a result, sales were severely reduced until mid-April, although online providers reported very strong sales.
After the bicycle stores reopened, the market experienced a real run on bicycles, e-bikes, components and accessories. Both the months of April and May were already stronger than the same months of the previous year. In June, the demand was also exceptionally high. The reasons for this development are manifold. Avoiding public transport and switching to alternative means of transport, the urge to get out into the fresh air with sufficient distance, changed vacation plans in favor of more cycling trips at home, to name but a few.
ZIV estimates that between January and June some 3.2 million bicycles and e-bikes were sold to consumers, or around 9.2 percent more than in the same period of the previous year, with a big jump from the first to the second quarter. While sales of regular bicycles have been declining slightly for years, with a few exceptions, ZIV caculates that their sales picked up by about 6.1 percent to 2.1 million units in the first half of 2020. The e-bike category again showed double-digit growth with an estimated increase of around 15.8 percent to 1.1 million units.
Dealers’ inventories have fallen sharply, as the production of bicycles and e-bikes in Germany declined by 1.1 percent to 1.39 million units in the first six months of this year. At the same time, imports of bicycles and e-bikes fell by 14.4 percent. The share of e-bikes in imports was just under 28 percent. Exports of bicycles and e-bikes fell by just under 2.6 percent over the same period, with e-bikes representing around 38 percent of the total export volume.