We all know that electric bicycles have been gaining momentum all over the world. Along with small-displacement scooters and mopeds, electric bicycles have proven to be viable alternatives to cars when it comes to certain trips in and around the city. The growing popularity of e-bikes can indeed be seen in the US, but in Europe and Asia, the numbers are even more impressive.
Take, for example, the bicycle industry in Belgium. Belgium has always been big on cycling, with the country’s infrastructure being inclusive of cyclists and other active mobility devices. That said, 2023 marked an interesting year for Belgium, as electric bicycle sales have surpassed regular bicycles for the very first time. A report published by mobility organization Traxio reports that electric bicycles accounted for 51.2 percent of all bicycles sold in 2023, officially taking the lead from regular, non-electric bicycles.
For reference, in 2022, electric bicycles held 47.1 percent of the pie, so given all the innovations in the e-mobility industry, it was just a matter of time until e-bikes surpassed regular bikes in terms of sales figures. To put that into perspective, a total of 606,000 bicycles – both electric and otherwise – were sold in Belgium in 2023. Indeed, the electric bicycle industry is foreseen to balloon before 2030, with reports suggesting that the industry will be worth $120 billion.
If we drill down the data, we find that in Belgium, more people are turning to e-bikes for urban mobility and utilitarian applications. Electric longtail bikes – particularly those used for carrying heavy cargo, were the most popular in 2023, with sales nearly doubling to 6,238 units. Electric road bikes – used both for personal commuting and recreation – also increased by almost double, with 8,154 units in 2023 from just 4,697 units in 2022.
Recreational bikes, particularly mountain bikes, were still the most popular, but there was a notable decline in 2023, with just 54,096 units sold, as opposed to the 88,943 in the previous year. On the electric side of the story, e-MTBs declined slightly from 18,167 in 2022 to 17,387 in 2023.
Apart from showing us a detailed breakdown of the cycling industry in Belgium, Traxio’s report also provided insights with regards to consumer preference when it comes to bikes. According to the report, 47 percent of respondents were ready to buy a new bike at the time of survey. Meanwhile, 39 percent had plans of purchasing a new bike within two years, while 43 percent were eyeing a new bike purchase within two to five years. Notably, 46 percent of all respondents preferred an e-bike over a standard, leg-powered machine.