Can “Made in France” Win the Battle for E-bike Market Leadership?

Easy E-Biking - Gazelle parked e-bikes, helping to make electric biking practical and fun

Electrically-assisted bicycle is an innovative product that is growing fast and is contributing to the emergence of new French economic players, who may be well placed in a market that is growing rapidly worldwide.

For an ultimate e-bike pricing guide (with examples), check out this post.

Junior, senior, man, woman, sporty or not, the electric-assisted bicycle is suitable for all audiences, allowing you to cover relatively long distances and rough terrain, without being an Olympic champion. There’s no need to take vitamins, nor to be discouraged by the smallest hill. The battery is there, small but efficient. The motor is there as well and this opens a world of possibilities.

Among e-bike customers are former sportsmen and women who find it difficult to keep up the pace. They are those who enjoy long rides, not to mention all those who enjoy commuting to and from work to stretch their legs while saving on the car. 

In fact, France has invented a new term – “Vélotaffeur” (Velodriver), which applies to people who ride their bikes, electric or not, to work.

Good for your health and the planet

Let’s not forget the ecological argument in this craze for e-bikes. Not that this is the number one criterion among buyers, who are likely to be more interested in the leisure or economic aspects. 

Are electric bikes good for the environment? You will find more on this topic in the following post.

Many e-bike enthusiasts, who are usually far from being experienced cyclists, are convinced by two aspects: to contribute, even modestly, to not increasing environmental pollution and to feel good by practicing physical activity, which is certainly not the case with an electric car. 

Can an e-bike be used to get fit or for weight loss? Take a look at this post to learn more.

We should not forget that an e-bike is still a bike, you have to pedal to get in moving! The caloric expenditure is obviously somewhat less than with a conventional bicycle, but is still significantly higher than with just walking.

E-bike innovations for any budget

The strong growth of the market has led to a frenzy of novelties. Myriad of innovations around batteries, security, connectivity, comfort, not to mention the inevitable design. 

Today, two elements play a decisive role in the progress made: battery life, which is expected to increase by an average of 30% very quickly – a strong argument – and the use of smartphones that allow real connectivity when cycling.

Learn about e-bike innovations from around the world in this post and in this one.

An affordable investment… or not

Last year, the average consumer selling price in France was EUR 1 585, which is not insignificant but still an affordable amount of money. 

E-bike sales in France represent 13% of sales in volume and 40% of sales in value. This price is relatively stable due to the characteristics of the distribution channels: supermarkets, specialist sports superstores, auto centers, and bicycle retailers. The latter still accounts for 55% of e-bike sales. 

Contrary to other markets, buying on the internet is still very small. This is likely due to the fact that trying out the e-bike is absolutely essential. Especially since most retailers offer free trials.

However, as the market is structuring rapidly, the high-end market is also a real opportunity. Coleen sells its e-bike for almost 6,000 euros, a model that has a good chance even in concept stores or luxury shops. 

Moustache e-bikes, coming out of Vosges, has a wide range of e-bikes from 1,400 to 5,000 euros. Read more about Moustache e-bikes in this post.

Angell e-bikes plans to launch new models this year and target the upper segment as well. Read more about Angell e-bikes in this post.

Many choices for different tastes

The French riders have a large choice of brands when it comes to electric bicycles. There is, of course, Easybike company in Saint-Lô, which has taken over the legendary brands Solex and Matra

The Cycleurop Group offers the Bianchi, Gitane and Peugeot brands, which are well known to cycling enthusiasts. 

Not as well known brands are also available in the retail stores and distribution networks: 02Feel, Mad in France, Moustache, Look, Lapierre, Btwin… As well as the growing number of foreign brands such as Kalkhoff (Germany).

The choice is widening for customers who now have a wide range of brands and prices, but the customer base is also growing. While in the beginning, it was the upper-middle-class category that was the target for e-bikes, today this is no longer the case. There are now almost as many women as men, with a majority of retirees.

Other European countries are not staying behind

Benelux has been the pioneer in cycling for decades, but the greatest potential now lies in Germany and France. The 5-6 year forecasts are respectively 1.2 and 1 million e-bikes for these two countries, which is a good market to target for the industry players. 

The future looks bright for electrically assisted bicycles. Even the International Cycling Federation (UCI) has decided to organize the first E-bike World Championships in Quebec, which is prooving that habits are changing.

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