German Bicycle Industry Well Satisfied with Season Results
EUROBIKE-Industry Discussion Panel
Mood Barometer for First Half of 2018ZIV, a bicycle industry association comprised of manufacturers and vendors of bikes, e-bikes, components and accessories, reports a good start to the 2018 business year overall. Only chilly weather in March cooled consumers' willingness to buy in the first quarter.
The second quarter brought outstanding weather conditions that guaranteed good and steady sales, leaving the stakeholders in the industry very well satisfied with the beginning of the season. It was a promising start to the year for the industry.
No statements can be made yet with respect to further developments in the second half of the year. However, it seems likely that the model group of e-bikes will once again perform above average, perpetuating the dynamic of the previous years. ZIV predicts total sales of 800,000 to 900,000 units by the end of the year.
The constancy of this trend comes not least from the continuing electrification of all model groups, attractively designed products, and further advancements in integrating motor and battery technology. Innovative business models, including leasing and logistics solutions, are further boosts to the rapidly increasing popularity of the e-bike.
However, e-bikes are not the sole reason for the sunny outlook in the industry. Numerous innovations in technology ensure high demand for the products of the German bicycle industry. For instance, digital networking of components and accessories brings enormous potential for the use of bikes and e-bikes for mobility (with navigation systems and anti-theft mechanisms, for instance) and for exercise (such as by means of performance diagnostics and monitoring tools).
Disk brakes, anti-lock braking systems, belt transmissions, and pinion drives are other features that have already been integrated in order to make bikes ever safer, easier, and more comfortable to use. Furthermore, high-tech lightweight materials and new lighting systems are also contributing to make bikes and e-bikes more and more attractive to consumers.
As regards the outlook for the coming years and decades, the German bicycle manufacturing industry feels well positioned to make the best of the German public's renewed enthusiasm for cycling. Above all, however, it's up to policymakers to accommodate this enthusiasm and provide substantial funding and support for bicycle traffic. While the increase in the federal budget for bikes to 200 million euros is a step in the right direction, compared to the amount set aside for other traffic carriers, it's still not much.
Most urgent is the need for investment in infrastructure for cyclists. This is critical for establishing the framework conditions for safe, convenient cycling traffic in the future.
Sufficient numbers of secure bicycle parking facilities within cities and at train stations also must be guaranteed.
Aside from infrastructure, more investment in publicity campaigns is required in order to raise awareness of the benefits of traveling by bike. This is the only way to increase the proportion of bikers in Germany and inspire even more people to start cycling.
Finally, policymakers must be made to appreciate the economic importance of bicycles. With tourism aspects included, the bike industry employs approximately 230,000 workers overall; 50,000 of those are in the manufacturing and retail sectors for bikes, components and parts. In total, the industry generates sales of about 16 billion euros.
Growth potential is to be found above all in markets for recreational products. Indeed, some regions are already making their profit almost entirely from bicycle tourism, with others following suit. Cities face the challenge of meeting their citizens' desire for liveable, clean neighborhoods with low levels of air and noise pollution.
Siegfried Neuberger, director of the ZIV industry association, gave the following statement: "We have very high hopes for the 2018 biking season. If the good weather conditions persist through the second half of the year, then we're confident that the industry will continue to grow."
ZIV is a national interest group and service provider for the bicycle industry, both domestic and international. Its members include manufacturers and importers of bikes, bike components, accessories and e-bikes.
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