If Australian dealers needed any further explanation of why bikes have been in such short supply, it’s just arrived in the form of a major annual report by CONEBI, the Confederation of European Bicycle, E-Bike, Parts & Accessories Industries.
The report collates the sales data of all 27 European Union countries, plus the UK (which left the EU pm 1st Feb 2020 as a result of their ‘Brexit’ decision).
For calendar year 2020 sales of bikes including e-bikes grew by 40% over 2019 to a total market value of €18.3 billion (A$29 billion)
Manuel Marsilio, CONEBI general manager, added, “European citizens are selecting greener e-mobility options over buying cars or using public transport, which resulted in e-bikes enjoying a staggering 52% increase in sales. E-bike sales leapt to €10.6 billion (A$16.7 billion) in 2020.”
This means that by value, e-bikes now comprise 58% of bicycles sold across Europe and the UK. The volume percentage, which was not included in CONEBI’s summary, would be much lower, given the higher unit price of e-bikes.
Another major shift highlighted in the report is the huge increase in local manufacture.
Erhard Büchel, President of CONEBI reported, “Production of parts and accessories in Europe also spiked in 2020, reaching €3 billion (A$4.7 billion). The current situation in the global supply chain is an important signal: we need to invest more in production in Europe. Based on current projections, we expect the value of parts and accessories produced in Europe to double to €6 billion (A$9.4 billion) by 2025.”
Manufacture of complete ebikes also increased with 3.6 million of the 4.5 million e-bikes sold being made in the UK, resulting in 30% increase in employment.
This ‘manufacturing’ number needs to be taken with a grain of salt, because many components, including the frames, are still sourced in Asia and European assembly is counted as ‘manufacture’ even if most or all of the components are made elsewhere.
CONEBI reported that ‘investments/innovation’ which presumably covers factory expansions and product research and development, grew by 50% from €1 billion (A$1.58 billion) in 2019 to €1.5 billion (A$2.37 billion) in 2020.
“Today, we have over 1,000 healthy sustainable manufacturing small to medium enterprises in Europe, which provide 155,000 direct/indirect green manufacturing jobs,” said Mr Marsilio. “Taking into account bicycle tourism, cycling services such as cycle-logistics, bike-sharing, and the retail sector, more than 850,000 green jobs are supported by our industry.”
CONEBI says that each 1,000 bicycles re-shored/produced each year in Europe creates three to five skilled jobs. And, for each 1,000 E-Bikes that are re-shored/produced in the region each year, between six and nine skilled jobs are generated.