Popular leisure activity in Corona times or a contribution to the traffic turnaround – the trend towards cycling continues to provide retailers with sales at a high level. In 2021, however, the record level from 2020 could not be surpassed again, which is likely related not least to global supply chain issues.
Although retail sales of bicycles, bicycle parts and accessories fell by 3.2% in real terms (adjusted for price) in 2021 compared with 2020. However, at +28.2%, it was still significantly higher than sales in the pre-Corona year 2019, according to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). In the first Corona year 2020, the retail of bicycles had recorded the largest increase in sales (+32.4%) since the beginning of the time series in 1994.
Despite e-bike boom, more classic bikes were produced again in 2021 than in the previous year
Even as more people switch from traditional bikes to e-bikes, more non-motorized bikes were produced in this country again in 2021 compared to 2020. Last year, production increased 10.0% to 1.43 million units. The total value of bicycles produced was €771.9 million – an increase of 11.2% compared to 2020. However, the number of non-powered bicycles produced was 6.1% lower and their total value was 3.0% lower than in 2019. The turnover of the bicycle retail trade in Germany does not result exclusively from domestic production; conversely, not all bicycles produced in Germany are destined for sale on the domestic market.
In addition, bicycle components – such as frames, forks or brakes, as well as parts for these – with a total value of 136.3 million euros were produced in Germany in 2021. This represents an increase of 35.9 % compared to the year 2020.
Bicycle prices increased almost twice as much as overall consumer prices in 2021
Increased production costs, persistently high demand and limited supply due to supply shortages have led to a significant +5.8% increase in bicycle prices over the past year. Thus, both classic, non-motorized bicycles were 5.7% more expensive than in the first Corona year 2020, as were e-bikes or pedelecs 5.9% more expensive. Saddles and other spare parts cost 6.9% more and bicycle inspections 7.3% more than a year earlier. For comparison, overall inflation was +3.1% in 2021 compared to 2020.
Fewer motorless bicycles in private households – rise in e-bikes
Even though the number of classic bicycles in private households has fallen slightly recently, the two-wheeler remains one of the most widespread means of transport of all. In 2021, almost four out of five households (79.0%) had at least one bicycle, and 13.3% of households had an e-bike or pedelec. In 2021, there were almost 61.1 million bicycles without a motor and 7.1 million e-bikes in private households. In 2014, there were still just under 66.7 million classic bikes and 1.6 million e-bikes.
Number of training contracts concluded in 2020 in the field of bicycle technology at an all-time high
The trend toward more technology on and more electronics in bicycles is also reflected in the corresponding apprenticeship occupations. Thus, as of 2014, the occupation of two-wheel mechanic was replaced by the new training regulations for two-wheel mechatronics technician. In this profession specializing in bicycle technology, the number of new apprenticeship contracts increased to a peak of 750 in 2020. In 2008, 294 prospective bicycle mechanics had signed such an apprenticeship contract. In contrast, the number of new contracts concluded in the occupation of bicycle mechanic. Bicycle mechanic decreased – to 249 in 2020 from a high of 393 in 2008. The proportion of women among new trainees in the occupations mentioned above is low, averaging just over 7% over the past ten years.
Data on retail sales of bicycles, bicycle parts and accessories are also available on a monthly basis in GENESIS-Online (tables 45212).
Data on the production of classic bicycles refer to two-wheelers and other bicycles, without motor (GP19-309210000). Bicycle components included the categories of frames, forks, front forks for bicycles (GP19-309230100) and parts for bicycle frames, forks, brakes, and the like (GP19-309230601). No sufficiently deeply disaggregated data are available on the production of e-bikes and pedelecs. The data on bicycle prices are taken from the consumer price statistics. Are available in GENESIS-Online (table 61111-0006).
Data on the provision of private households with vehicles is based on the Current Economic Accounts (CES) as of the reporting date 1. January of the respective year. Under electric bicycle resp. E-bikes are understood there as bicycles with an assisting electric motor drive without the need for a driver's license (pedelecs). Households with bicycles there include those with e-bikes or pedelecs without the need for a driver's license. Households with a regular monthly net income of 18 000 Euro and more are not considered in the LWR, because they do not have or do not have an income of 18 000 Euro. Participate in the survey in too small number. According to the legal requirements, households of self-employed persons (tradesmen and self-employed farmers and freelancers) are not included in the LWR. No LWR survey took place in 2018.