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The electric bike in great shape

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

The e-bike market is booming. In 2021, exactly 659,337 copies were sold in France, or 28% more than the previous year, according to figures published on April 5 by Union sport & cycles (USC), the professional organization of the sector. In value, the market reached 1.3 billion euros, an increase of 23% in one year. Calculated for ten years, the growth of the sector is even more impressive. In 2011, only 40,000 e-bikes were sold, about 15 times less than in 2021.

This development is the result of the enthusiasm for cycling, noted in particular since the start of the pandemic, in town and in the countryside, for daily travel and for leisure. After the first confinement, in spring 2020, the State and local authorities had encouraged the use of bicycles for health, environmental and economic reasons, and had undertaken to finance specific developments.

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“We are on the right trajectory”, rejoices 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 progressing, even though the use of bicycles, according to figures published by the association of elected officials Vélo & territories, stagnated in 2021, after a sharp increase in 2020.

Parts and Accessories

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

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Consumers are not neglecting the other segments of the cycle market, however. City bikes, non-electric, as well as hybrid bikes, are selling better than in 2020, both in volume and in value. The same applies to parts and accessories, such as hiking bags, helmets or rainwear. On the other hand, folding bikes are experiencing a reversal of fortune with a 21% drop in volume. These objects, designed to be taken on the train or in the metro, had however gained in popularity in recent years. “In reality, except for some high-end brands, using folding bikes is not so convenient,” decides Mr. Valentin.

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