German Bike Market Shrinks Again

Germany - The German bicycle industry assiciatuon, Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (ZIV) has released a bike market report for the first half of 2017. ZIV calculates that 2.64 million bicycles and e-bikes were sold in Germany between January and June 2017, representing a decline of 2.2%.

While Germans are hesitant to buy when it comes to traditional bikes, ZIV estimates that around 540,000 e-bikes have already been sold through dealerships in the first half of 2017. For the year as a whole, the industry estimates that around 680,000 e-bikes will be sold. This would represent double-digit growth of around 12%.

Production also fell slightly below the previous year’s level. In the first six months, 1.44 million vehicles were produced, correlating to a decline of 2.7%. Although these results are similar to those from 2016, when poor weather was blamed for the drop in sales, however weather conditions in the first six months of the year proved to be quite bicycle-friendly.

According to numbers from the Federal Statistics Office, imports of bicycles and e-bikes to Germany declined by about 1.2%. The e-bike share of imports in the period January to June was 21% (previous year: 19%). On the other hand, exports of bicycles and e-bikes show a slight increase. Between January and June, export volume rose slightly by 2.3%. The e-bike share of exports was 25% (previous year: 21%).

ZIV attributed the decline in production and sales of traditional bicycles to:

* High number of existing bicycles in Germany with over 80% of households in Germany already owning at least one bicycle.
* Bicycles are becoming higher quality and therefore more durable. The willingness of consumers to spend more money for better quality has been increasing for years.
* Sales of vehicles at entry-level prices by hypermarkets, discounters and grocery stores is declining.
* An e-bike purchase more often than not replaces the purchase of a classic bike. In the meantime, there are models that are difficult to distinguish from a bicycle in terms of weight and appearance. This trend will continue with all model groups in the future.
* The population is getting older. Even though the trend towards fewer and fewer children per capita seems to have stopped, the decline in birth rates in recent decades is noticeable.