The European Union (EU) saw an impressive surge in its bicycle trade sector in 2022, registering a notable growth rate of 22 percent over the previous year. The year-end export figures stood at an astounding €1.1 billion, as unveiled on World Bicycle Day. This thriving market witnessed an even more significant leap in import numbers, nearly twice the value of exports at a whopping €2.5 billion, an impressive uptick of 32 percent from the previous year.
This remarkable growth in trade value can be primarily ascribed to the surging demand for electric bicycles, which typically fetch a higher price. Detailed examination of the EU trade data underscores the growth of the electric bicycle market, with a 16 percent increase in exports, totaling to 365,000 units in 2022. Parallel to the trend in exports, imports of electric bicycles experienced a similar upswing, with 1.2 million units penetrating the EU market.
Interestingly, the trade statistics indicate a contrasting trend for non-electric bicycles. While the overall market showed significant expansion, non-electric bicycle exports marked a 31 percent decrease, totaling 1 million units in 2022. Similarly, imports of non-electric bicycles also reported a 9 percent decline, with 5.2 million units reaching the EU.
Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States emerged as the leading importers of EU-produced non-electric bicycles, accounting for 25 percent, 23 percent, and 7 percent of the total export market, respectively. Electric bicycles followed a similar trajectory, with Switzerland and the UK holding the top spots in EU exports, capturing 38 percent and 27 percent of the market share, respectively. The US and Norway also featured prominently in the list of top importers of electric bicycles from the EU.
Examining the import side of the trade, Cambodia stood out as the primary source of non-electric bicycles, comprising 30 percent of total EU imports. Taiwan, China, Bangladesh, and Turkey followed closely, contributing 23 percent, 11 percent, 10 percent, and 6 percent to the import tally. For electric bicycles, Taiwan took the lead, accounting for 56 percent of total EU imports. Other major contributors included Vietnam, Switzerland, China, and Turkey.
This burgeoning bicycle trade coincides with the growing global recognition of cycling’s benefits as part of an active lifestyle. Cycling is a simple, affordable, and environmentally friendly choice for transportation. It promotes a healthier lifestyle, mitigates carbon emissions, and improves overall well-being. The marked upturn in bicycle trade attests to an increasing global preference for more sustainable modes of transport.