As government-mandated shutdowns spread across the United States in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses are suffering. With people stuck at home and tightening their purse strings, many feared the hardship would be felt acutely by the dozens of e-bike companies that have sprung up in recent years.
But it turns out that the opposite is true. In fact, e-bike sales seem to have exploded recently.
E-bike sales figures were already down late last year and have steadily increased year on year as the industry has grown.
Now we’re hearing from e-bike companies in the US and Europe reporting record sales numbers during the COVID-19 lockdown.
VanMoof, a Dutch e-bike manufacturer that markets e-bikes worldwide, reported as early as last month that its sales had already increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Already in February, the company experienced its highest ever foot traffic at its flagship stores around the world, in places such as Paris and New York. Then, in March, the company saw record online sales that were up nearly 50% from the same period a year earlier, with visitors to its website up more than 80%.
VanMoof has since capitalized on this momentum by launching two new e-bikes: the VanMoof S3 and X3. Details of the bike had actually been leaked a week earlier, which might have helped boost traffic to the site. But regardless, the rather high-end e-bike brand, whose new bikes start at around $2,000, has certainly seen a significant boost in sales. And the fact that the company’s recently released e-bikes are priced more than $1,000 lower than previous generation models has certainly helped to continue the positive sales trend seen during the coronavirus pandemic.
If the more expensive e-bikes are selling well, you better believe that the more economical e-bikes are seeing an even bigger boost in sales numbers.
In the United States, Arizona-based online e-bike retailer Lectric eBikes reported a 140% increase in sales since March 15, matching the period when many states began shutdowns. As state governments have encouraged social distancing, many cyclists have turned to e-bikes to stay active while keeping their distance from others.
As Lectric eBikes co-founder Levi Conlow explained in a statement provided to Electrek:
Our customers say e-bikes are a great option for the new way of life in the age of coronavirus. The dramatic increase in sales shows that nationwide, people are looking to change the way they get around. It’s also a fantastic option for those looking to isolate themselves socially while getting some fresh air outdoors.
Lectric eBikes sells the Lectric XP e-bike, a 28 mph (45 km/h) folding e-bike with big tires, making it capable of both on-road travel and light off-road riding. With a price tag of just $899, it’s one of the most affordable e-bikes in the US that’s still capable of high-powered, high-speed riding. We had the chance to review the Lectric XP recently, and you can see our review video below.
Lectric eBikes co-founder Robby Deziel further explained:
In addition to comfort and convenience, we want to offer our customers a product that doesn’t give up quality at an industry-leading price and with no hidden costs. Now more than ever, we believe that buying an electric bike should be accessible to everyone.
The company even used its recent success to help give back to its local community, donating 8,000 KN95 masks to local healthcare workers in its home state of Arizona.
Electric bikes are becoming more affordable
Other companies have also recently lowered the prices of their affordable e-bikes, such as the RadRunner from Rad Power Bikes.
It originally retailed for $1,299, but saw its price drop to $1,199 last month after the announcement of a more capable, limited-edition version known as the RadRunner Plus.
The RadRunner also offers fat 20-inch tires like the Lectric XP, but uses a utility-style frame similar to a stretched electric moped. These minibike or e-moped type e-bikes were gaining popularity towards the end of 2019 and based on current sales reports, continue to grow in popularity.
Back when the economy began its downturn in late February, I must admit I was among those who worried about the fate of the many e-bike companies in the United States and around the world.
With more people out of work and less cash in their pockets, I worried that e-bikes would be seen as expensive luxuries instead of the budget-friendly alternative transportation options that they truly are.
Considering that e-bikes are great both for recreational riding and as a replacement for many car trips, I consider them more than ever a prudent choice. And I’m glad to see that consumers agree.
What do you think? Is it a good time to do a few kilometers on an electric bike? Let us know in the comments section below if you’re social distancing on two wheels!
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