This is a guest post from Reiner Kolberg who is an eBike-expert from Cologne/Germany and runs the website www.e-bikeinfo.de.
Not long ago electric bikes (called E-Bikes or Pedelecs in Europe) were cheap “old person” vehicles and there was a big discussion if and how they would influence the market.
At the German Eurobike Show at Lake Constance which has become the biggest and trend-leading bike show in Europe with 1,250 exhibitors from 49 countries, 366 world premieres, 43,700 industry visitors from 97 countries and 1,889 media representatives there was a clear evidence, that electric bikes are not only booming: they are changing the bike business!
Nearly every company shows eBikes and it’s hard to count the new names and companies, entering the market in 2012/2013.
The bike world has discovered that the “e” is attractive to consumers – and very profitable for retailers, brands, factories and component makers – and shareholders as well.
While bicycle sales are still stagnating in Europe, electric bikes are the big profit drivers for the European bike business. Besides that: bicycles are gaining more and more ground in car-based European societies like Germany and future prospects are very good.
This leads to the fact that the market is dynamic as never before and there is serious money in the business. Some examples: One of the biggest German companies Derby Cycle (brands Kalkhoff, Raleigh, Univega, Focus) which was listed at the stock exchange was bought by the dutch car-retailer PON-Group, who took over Cervélo and Gazelle as well.
The stock listed Accell Group (over 15 brands e.g. Ghost, Haibike, Koga, Batavus, Winora, Staiger) is still expanding its business and bought Raleigh bicycles and the US company Currie Technologies (Izip/Ezip) this year.
The HeroEco Group, a major player from India took over Ultra Motor (brand A2B) and is searching for new strategic acquisitions in the market.
The new BMC Group from Switzerland (brands BMC, Bergamont and Stromer) is entering the US market with a Stromer showroom in Manhattan.
Car-manufacturer such as Mercedes Benz (Smart eBike) are searching for opportunities to put some attractive greentech to their brands.
Suppliers like the well known German company Bosch are a step ahead and are already making good business. A lot of other interesting names are on the list for eBike business, such as Yamaha and Panasonic with new drive units and Samsung entering the battery market.
The biggest and most innovating market for eBikes is Germany with expected 400,000 eBikes being sold in Germany 2012 (2011: 310,000). With this results Germany has about 1 Million eBikes on the streets right now and is expecting 600,000 eBikes per year in the near future.
The trend is towards good quality and nice design – including higher prices with an average price of around 2,000 Euro.
So what are the trends for the future? As said bicycles are gaining ground in every European country due to increasing health and environmental awareness, rising gas prices, high costs for parking and transport problems in towns.
More and more people discover bikes not only for sport activities, but also for shopping and daily commuting. And they want to do that with stylish, sportive bikes. So this is a big trend as well for the eBike-Market.
You could see hundreds of these eBikes at Eurobike for younger and sportive customers: Normal eBikes as well as folding bikes, cargo bikes and mountain eBikes with 29ers as well as 650b wheel sizes.
A small, but very interesting segment is cruiser eBikes, like the ones from PG, Pedego or Electra (with the new Townie GO). They are something new and will help to attract more and especially younger people for eBikes.
About guest author Reiner Kolberg
Reiner Kolberg has sound experience in the bicycle sector. The eBike-expert from Cologne/Germany is working as Journalist, PR consultant and is publisher / editor in chief of www.e-bikeinfo.de.
More Information: www.buerokolberg.de/reiner-kolberg-en/
End of guest post
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