Are Cargo Bikes Heading for a New Sales Record?

Gradually, 2021 is drawing to a close. The second year under the influence of the Corona pandemic has been marked by two phenomena that are well known from the previous year – an above-average interest in the topic of cycling and serious supply bottlenecks on the part of the bicycle industry. So how will the balance turn out in the end? Positive, according to some manufacturers of cargo bikes.

Increase of 50 percent and more

Possibly, sales of such bicycles could increase by half of the previous year’s figure. Perhaps even more significantly. This is the result of a survey among 38 international cargo bike manufacturers. As part of the “European Cargo Bike Industry Survey”, they had indicated that they expected sales of about 75,000 bikes in 2021. In 2020, the number of bikes sold by the 38 manufacturers participating in the survey was still almost 46,000. Thus, this figure would grow by more than 65 percent within one year. There had already been a jump from 33,000 units to almost 46,000 units from 2019 to 2020.

The manufacturers cannot predict with certainty whether this will actually occur in this way. Some of them expressed optimism to the blog “” at the Eurobike a few months ago. Others meanwhile considered the achievement of their self-formulated prognosis to be less realistic.

E-bike now the norm instead of the exception

Besides, the absolute majority of cargo bikes manufactured by survey participants are equipped with an electric drive system. To be precise, it is 92 percent. This figure can be seen as a strong indication of what can be expected in the coming years. In most cases, the electric drive is a model that supports up to a speed of 25 km/h.

Let’s wait and see how much the cargo bike manufacturers actually have to celebrate at the end of the year. So far they are in good spirits.

Among the participants in the survey, Belgium is currently considered the most promising market for cargo bikes. This is followed by Germany and France. This ranking is based less on forecasts of cargo bike sales. Rather, the assessment is based on how dynamic the market in the respective country is at the moment and how important it appears to be for the participants themselves. Interestingly, not a single Belgian manufacturer took part in the survey. The result seems all the more revealing.

Promotion programmes have an effect

It is probably more a reaction to the numerous promotion programmes for ebikes in our neighbouring country and the often decidedly bicycle-friendly redesigns of Belgian cities. Two general conditions should be briefly mentioned here. Belgians pay just six percent VAT when they buy a bicycle. In addition, there are financially attractive mileage allowances for those who cycle to work.

Equally unsurprising is the mention of France. There, the National Assembly passed the “bonus écologique” this year. This is a purchase bonus of a maximum of 2,500 euros. This is given to anyone who decommissions their old car and buys an e-cargo bike as a replacement, for example.

Actual events remain uncertain

However, only the statistics of the industry associations in the respective countries will reliably reflect the direction in which the sales figures for 2021 will develop. The “European Cargo Bike Industry Survey” cannot accomplish this in any case. It should be interpreted more as a barometer of sentiment than as a valid scientific forecast and rather reflects growth expectations. As mentioned, a total of only 38 cargo bike manufacturers took part in the anonymous online survey from May to June this year. With 14 companies, the largest fraction came from Germany. Six are based in the Netherlands and four in France. In addition to twelve manufacturers from other European countries, two from Asia took part as well. The second edition of the survey was initiated by the blog, the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), the European Cyclists’ Industry Association (CIE), the European Cyclists’ Logistics Federation (ECLF) and the Technical University of Krakow. The survey does not distinguish between private and commercial use of a bicycle.

At this point in time, a reliable forecast for Germany is equally difficult. Based on the sales figures from the first half of the year, the German Bicycle Industry Association (ZIV) expects another strong year. However, due to the still very tight availability of various bicycle components, slightly fewer ebikes could be sold than in 2020. In the summer, the ZIV estimated a possible decline of 2.6 percent.



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