Ebike Sales Up 51 Percent In Past Year

Leisure and fitness ebikes lead the charge as US sales crest $200 million.

IZIP Zuma Cherry Ebike Front View
Leisure models have been a leading ebike sales category the past year.IZIP

Sales growth in ebikes continues to wildly outpace the broader cycling market in the US, rising 51 percent in dollar sales to $207 million for the 12-month period ended in September. That compares with a 1 percent decline in the overall cycling market (including parts, accessories, apparel, and shop service) to $5.5 billion over the same period, according to point-of-sale retail data from market research firm NPD Group.

NPD shared the data as part of the PeopleForBikes E-bike Summit hosted last week by Canyon Bicycles in North San Diego County. Some 125 ebike and bicycle industry representatives, retailers, and advocates attended the daylong summit, up from 65 attendees last year.

E-Bike Sales Growth
Cycling point-of-sale data for rolling year through September 2019.NPD Group

Ebikes exhibited by far the strongest growth for the rolling year in the cycling categories NPD tracks, followed by gravel/cyclocross bikes, helmets, bike rentals, and accessories for trainers and rollers. Sport performance bikes and cross/hybrid bikes (non-electric) saw the biggest category declines for the period, down by $50 million and $35 million, respectively. Non-electric commuter, cruiser, and comfort bicycles also saw significant declines for the year-over-year period ended in September.

Those slumping commuter, cruiser, and comfort sales are mostly spurred by the waves of Trump administration tariffs that have hit the bicycle industry, NPD account manager Matthew Tucker told Cycle Volta. “It’s the lower-priced bikes that are most obviously impacted from the consumer standpoint. A lot of those bikes are under $500, so if something increases 10 percent, it’s a little bit more noticeable to the consumer than higher-end bikes,” he said.

But sales of electric bikes in those cycling genres also appear to be cannibalizing sales of traditional bikes, Tucker added.

E-bike Sub Class Charts
Cycling point-of-sale data for rolling year through September 2019.NPD Group

Indeed, segmenting out ebike unit sales by style of model shows that those categories are currently the strongest sellers in the electric market. Of the top 200 ebike models sold during the rolling year through September, 39 percent were leisure/lifestyle designs and 26.5 percent were transit/fitness designs. Those categories were trailed by electric mountain bikes (20 percent), road models (5 percent), cargo (4 percent), and all other styles (5.5 percent).

Dollar sales for the Top 200 ebike models break down similarly, with the exception of higher-priced eMTBs claiming a larger piece of the pie: lifestyle/leisure (35 percent), mountain (26 percent), transit fitness (25.5 percent), road (5 percent), cargo (3.5 percent), and all other (5 percent).

Looking at ebike price points, the $2,000–$2,499 price range captured 22 percent of dollar sales to lead the overall electric market, but that market share is down from 30 percent a year earlier. Ebikes priced above $5,000 had the strongest growth for the year, adding $21 million in dollar sales to capture about 16 percent of the electric market.

Brand popularity has also shifted in recent years. According to sales NPD tracks, in 2015 the top five brands by dollar sales were—in descending order—Stromer, Raleigh, Specialized, Haibike, and Trek. But in 2019, high-end lifestyle brand Stromer and mountain bike specialist Haibike dropped out of the top five, which is now led by Specialized, followed by Trek, Electra, Giant, and Raleigh.

In the bicycle market, NPD tracks point-of-sale transactions at retailers representing 19,000 doors. In addition to independent bicycle dealers, those retailers include sporting goods chains, mass merchants, toy stores, warehouse shopping clubs, and online sellers. Tucker said at last week’s E-bike Summit that NPD is working to add more specialty ebike dealers to its sample to better track the electric market over a wider range of brands.