Utility e-bikes remain in high demand
As Shimano’s fourth State of the Nation report shows, e-bikes are still in high demand in Europe. The cost of living and rising prices for fuel and public transport have replaced Covid-19 risk as the driving factor of sales.
The bicycle business is facing challenging times: just when the strain of the Covid-19 pandemic seemed to ease up across Europe, Russia’s war against Ukraine provoked a spike in energy costs, fueling inflation and sending consumer sentiment into a downward spiral. Shimano’s fourth State of the Nation report shows that this does not necessarily hurt the demand for utility e-bikes. With over 15,000 respondents across 12 European countries, Shimano’s report offers interesting insights into the motives and sentiment of consumers throughout Europe. And it turns out, all is not lost for the bicycle business.
The most important finding of Shimano’s State of the Nation report is that economic factors have replaced pandemic-related fears as the driving force for e-bike purchasing. Across Europe, 47% of the respondents considered using an e-bike to avoid rising costs for both fuel and public transport. Reflecting the impact of inflation on spending capacity, 41% of the respondents saw e-bike subsidies as an important motivation to overcome the substantial initial investment linked to the purchase of an e-bike. Avoiding public transport as a possible source of Covid 19-infections was only mentioned by 18% of the respondents, down from 39% a year earlier.
Another motivation for the purchase of an e-bike are rising environmental concerns. Overall, 33% of respondents mentioned reducing their carbon footprint as their prime motivation to switch to the use of an e-bike. The youngest age bracket of 18- to 25-year-olds and respondents in Southern European countries struggling with drought such as Italy and Spain recorded much higher numbers in this regard. Apart from the initial cost of purchase, another hindering factor is the lack of safe cycling infrastructure: 45% of the respondents did not see an improvement in this regard over the last 12 months.
One more interesting finding of Shimano’s study hints at a lack of knowledge regarding the importance of proper e-bike maintenance. 51% of the respondents actually owning an e-bike acknowledge the importance of regular servicing for keeping their bike in good condition. But only 25% planned to get their e-bike serviced in the next 6 months while 12% would only go to a service center if their bike actually breaks. This shows that some education is still needed on behalf of consumers regarding the importance of regular servicing, which in turn can prevent more expensive repairs further up the road.
Shimano’s entire State of the Nation report is available online as a PDF file at the following address: