The electric bicycle in top form

Cycleurope factory, in Romilly-sur-Seine (Aube), 28 July 2020.

The e-bike market is booming. In 2021, exactly 659,337 units were sold in France, or 28% more than the year before, according to figures published on April 5 by Union sport & cycles (USC), the sector’s professional body. In value, the market reached 1.3 billion euros, an increase of 23% in one year. Calculated over ten years, the growth of the sector is even more impressive. Only 40,000 electrically assisted bicycles were sold in 2011, which is about 15 times less than in 2021.

This development is the result of the enthusiasm for cycling, which has been seen especially since the start of the pandemic, in urban and rural areas, for everyday travel and leisure. After the first incarceration, in spring 2020, the state and local authorities had encouraged the use of bicycles for health, environmental and economic reasons and committed to funding specific developments.

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“We’re on the right track”, welcomes Jérôme Valentin, vice president of the Union sport & cycle and president of the company Cycleurope France, which assembles bicycles in Romilly-sur-Seine (Aube). Sales are still continuing, even though bicycle use stagnated in 2021, after a sharp increase in 2020.

Parts & Accessories

In recent years, however, the market has been shaken, not only by unprecedented demand, but also by unstable economic conditions. “We experienced supply difficulties in 2021 due to the health situation and the energy crisis in China, and this has slowed down component production,” admits Mr. Valentin. In addition, the sector has suffered “unavailability of containers and the increase in transport prices”, adds the entrepreneur. The bicycle industry, whose activity mainly consists of assembling bicycles from spare parts produced in Asia and Europe, is heavily dependent on international trade.

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However, the consumer does not neglect the other segments of the bicycle market. City bikes, both non-electric and hybrid bikes, are selling better than in 2020, both in volume and value. The same applies to parts and accessories, such as hiking bags, helmets or rain gear. On the other hand, folding bicycles are experiencing a turnaround with a 21% drop in volume. However, these objects, designed to be carried on the train or on the metro, had become increasingly popular in recent years. “In reality, apart from some high-end brands, using folding bikes is not that convenient”, concludes Mr. Valentin.

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