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E-bikes are taking over the travel market

© Alejandro Lopez

Susanne Brüsch presents a broadcast from her camper van at ITB Berlin NOW

E-Bikes are the future of cycle tourism. That was the convincing message from “Lady Pedelec“ Susanne Brüsch at ITB Berlin NOW. She estimates that electric bikes make up 50 per cent of the bicycle market.

Brüsch broadcast her presentation from her 4x4 camper van, which after touring for several months was parked on a campsite in southern Spain. Despite the coronavirus she and her partner had travelled there from Paris with their inevitable cargo of two e-bikes, convincing every police officer that this type of transport carried no risk of infection. “It is quite often deserted, but one has to learn to live with solitude“, she said.

As a form of transport adapted to the pandemic, e-bikes experienced a huge surge last year, said Brüsch quoting several studies. In 2020 sales rose by 43 per cent to almost two million. By contrast, the overall bicycle market “only“ grew by 17 per cent. Turnover in fact rose by 60.7 per cent, due to e-bikes being more expensive.

E-bikes make up 38 per cent of bicycle sales in Germany, while trekking bikes account for 25 per cent. E-bikes could very well take over this market in the long term, as the target customers are very similar. Customers in this market are generally wealthy and appreciate quality, and Brüsch’s advice to the industry was to focus more on e-Bike tourism. Because of the pandemic a new normal has already taken hold of the bicycle market. Tour operators, to whom she belonged, would be well advised to order stocks early as demand was currently very high, she said. And they needed to be clear about the audience their tours were targeting. Customers in search of cultural attractions, activities in nature and the usual kinds of relaxation could easily clash with “mile eaters“.

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Text: Thomas Rietig


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