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The rise of the e-bike

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New research from Mintel suggests that e-bikes continue to rise in popularity.

The latest figures revealed that 14% of UK cyclists intend to buy an e-bike in the next year and that of the 2.5 million bikes sold in the UK in 2018, 70,000 were e-bikes.

The backdrop was that the number of cyclists is down from 38% in 2015 to 27% in 2018 – the third consecutive year of decline.

What’s more, over the past year there has been an estimated 8% increase in e-bike sales by volume, while sales by value climbed 15%. Although only 6% of cyclists currently own an e-bike, 14% of cyclists intend to buy one in the next 12 months, a rise from 11% in 2017.

Overall, 45% of current cyclists say they would be interested in test-riding an e-bike, while 32% of ‘potential cyclists’ are also interested in trying one out.

Just as men of a certain age love their Lycra, it seems they love their e-bikes too. Male cyclists are four times (8%) more likely than female cyclists (2%) to own an e-bike. Among male cyclists aged 25-44, e-bike ownership has reached double-digit percentages (11%).

John Worthington, Senior Analyst, said: “E-bikes are still in the ‘early adopter’ stage, their core customers most likely to be technophile men under 45. The challenge and opportunity for bike brands and retailers is to market the e-bike as something less ‘techy’ and more mainstream. The e-bike could be the catalyst for opening up cycling as a whole into a more mass participation activity, becoming far less dependent on its Lycra-clad image.

The emergence of e-bike hire schemes is likely to provide a stimulus to the burgeoning e-bike market. For major retailers and dealers this is now the fastest-growing product. While some may be happy to rent, others will no doubt wish to acquire their own models. It is likely that many customers may delay purchasing an e-bike, waiting to see if prices come down. Current economic uncertainty may also cause would-be buyers to defer payment. While younger generations are far more sensitive to these economic pressures, those over 40 are more likely to spend in the £1,000+ category – which is what most e-bikes cost.”

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