As the demand for bicycles and sustainable transportation booms, so too has the production of bicycles. In 2021, a total of 13.5 million bicycles were produced in the European Union – up 11% since 2020.
According to data from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, the production of bicycles was led by Portugal, which made 2.9 million bicycles in the space of a year, followed by Romania (2.5 million), Italy (1.9 million), Germany (1.4 million), and Poland (1.2 million.)
In Belgium, manufacturers produced over 43,000 bicycles last year. Belgians tend to buy bicycles imported from abroad.
In the same year, the EU exported €921 million worth of bicycles, both electric and non-electric, to countries outside the EU. Europe still imports more bikes than it exports, with a total €1.8 billion of bikes being imported from outside the EU.
Who buys bikes?
The top destination for EU bike exports was the United Kingdom (30% of non-electric bike exports), followed by Switzerland (21%), the US (6%), Norway and Australia (both 5%). For electric bikes, the EU sends most to the UK (38%), Norway (13%), and the US (8%).
For non-electric bikes coming into the European market, most come from Cambodia (27%), closely followed by Taiwan (26%), China (10%), Bangladesh (8%), and Turkey (5%).
The market for electric bicycles has grown significantly in recent years as people look for more sustainable modes of transport. Last year, around 315,800 electric bicycles (total value €488 million) were exported by the EU.
The EU imported 1.15 million e-bikes, worth €849 million. The number of electric bikes exported by the EU rose 15% in 2021, while imports grew by 37% compared to 2020.
57% of electric bikes entering the EU were made in Taiwan.
A mobility revolution
According to a study carried out by PwC, the global bike market is set to grow by another 50% in the coming seven years, driven by greater electrification of bicycles, political incentives for urban mobility, and changing attitudes towards cycling for transport.
In Belgium, there are already around 5.5 million bicycles in circulation. Last year, the number of cyclists recorded in Belgium’s capital at the start of the year had risen by up to 32%, as cars increasingly gave way to pedestrians and cyclists.
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New concepts, such as business bike leasing, are already replacing traditional forms of transportation.
Over 60% of Brussels residents could use their bikes to travel to work, ditching their personal vehicles. Services such as “Lease a Bike” offer employers the opportunity to replace company cars with more affordable bicycles, which are ultimately better for the environment.