Growth in the electric bike market surges despite concerns over supply
An electric bike retailer that has seen business growth of 40% since the start of the pandemic, is warning of further price rises in another blow to consumer finances.
Eddie Kehoe is director of electricbikesales.co.uk, the UK’s longest established ebike specialist, and has stores in Cambridge, Bristol, Oxford and York. He says the demand for electric bikes is so high that supply is unable to keep up. He founded the business in 2005 and has seen steady growth from people looking to electric bikes both as a green alternative to cars and to support their fitness. But Kehoe says he could never have predicted the combined effect that Covid and Brexit have had on supply and prices.
During the pandemic his business saw annual growth in sales of electric bikes of more than 20%, and despite strong relationships with leading manufacturers was at times unable to keep pace with demand. His approach now has been to invest in greater stock levels, which he believes will enable him to combat price rises for customers in the short term.
As well as growth in demand, there is also a pressure on sourcing materials and components that is affecting manufacturers. One leading German electric bike brand Riese & Müller has already announced that they would have to increase prices by 4.9% in March 2022.
Kehoe said: “The pandemic saw a surge in demand for two-wheeled transport and a squeeze on supply globally.
“Electric bike price rises are once again in the pipeline due to global pressures on supply chains and transportation costs. While our quality EU suppliers have been responding to these trends by on-shoring as much supply as possible the electric bike industry remains a global endeavour and price rises are unfortunately feeding through to end consumer prices.”
Three main European cycling groups – the Cycling Industries Europe (CIE), CONEBI, and European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) – together believe Europeans are expected to buy an extra 10 million bikes per year by 2030, 47% more than the annual number in 2019. Electric bikes lead this growth, with sales predicted to increase by an extraordinary 470% on pre-pandemic levels by 2030.
Kehoe added: “We’ve made a commitment to hold prices firm for as long as we can but we can’t do this forever. For anyone thinking of buying an electric bike then we recommend looking now.”