German Bicycle & E-Bike Market Defying COVID-19 Crisis

German bicycle industry association, Zweirad-Industrie-Verbandes (ZIV) has released a report on the German bicycle and e-bike market during the first half of 2020. the report concludes that while many industries are suffering from the global measures to contain the Covid19 pandemic, bicycles and e-bikes have become the mode of transport of the hour.

According to ZIV, the year 2020 got off to a promising start with mild weather in January. However, in mid-February, the shutdown in China and other parts of Asia disrupted supply chains were disrupted or even interrupted. Manufacturers of bicycles, e-bikes, components and accessories could only produce to a very limited extent, if at all. By mid-March, the bike shops in most German states had to close. As a result, sales were severely limited until mid-April, although online providers reported very high sales.

Since bicycle shops re-opened, the industry has seen a real run on bicycles, e-bikes, components and accessories. ZIV reported that both April and May were stronger than the same months of the previous year. And in June, too, the demand for products from the German and international bicycle industry was exceptionally high.

Market data for bicycles and e-bikes

ZIV expects that around 3.2 million bicycles and e-bikes were sold between January and June. In terms of sales, this is an increase of around 9.2% compared to the same period in the previous year. ZIV therefore assumes that sales of bicycles, e-bikes, components and accessories also increased significantly in Q1 / Q2 2020.

Production of bicycles and e-bikes in Germany fell slightly. 1.39 million vehicles were produced in the first six months. This corresponds to a decrease of -1.1%. 
According to the figures from the Federal Statistical Office, imports of bicycles and e-bikes fell by -14.4% in the period under review. The share of e-bikes in imports was just under 28%.
There has also been a decline in the export of bicycles and e-bikes. Between January and June, the export volume fell by almost -2.6%. The e-bike share of exports was around 38%.
While sales of bicycles have shown a slight decline for years, with a few exceptions, ZIV expects a sales pulse of around 6.1% to 2.1 million units in the first half of 2020. The e-bike category once again achieved double-digit growth and amounts to an estimated 1.1 million units. That would correspond to an increase of around 15.8%.

Cautious optimism

ZIV concludes that cycling is benefitting from the coronavirus crisis, and is once again proving its advantages. The current situation has moved many people to switch to bicycles. It is precisely this rethinking that needs to be used to make cycling attractive for people in the long term. Specifically, that means investing in an inviting and safe bicycle infrastructure.

David Eisenberger, Head of Marketing & Communication for ZIV commented, “Bicycle mobility is systemically relevant. The last few months have shown that. We also know that bicycles and e-bikes have also addressed new target groups this year. Many of these new users will not want to do without two-wheel mobility even after the crisis. We are cautiously optimistic that the industry will be able to close this year on a high level, similar to the previous year."