Taiwan exports over 1 million e-bikes in 2022

Notwithstanding all the reports about packed warehouses in Taiwan and high inventory levels at distributors and dealers worldwide, the shipments of e-bikes from Taiwan to global markets were at a very high level throughout 2022. Component shortages appeared to be less problematic last year than in 2021, so the assembly could run at full capacity.

Taiwan’s latest export statistics clearly show a hike in e-bike exports for the second year in a row. In 2022, some 1,038,021 million e-bikes were shipped, an increase of 4.9%. Even more relevant was the hike in the total value, which rose by 18.1% to €1.449 billion. Throughout the year, the fluctuation in the export of e-bikes was very big.

Fluctuation during the year

In June 2022 the Taiwan Bicycle association reported a double digit increase in export volume between January-April. Four months later, the increase in units had dropped to a minor increase of 1.17% only. At that time, it was already clear that both the UK and US markets were not performing very well as far as Taiwan made e-bikes were concerned. At the end of 2022, the biggest chunk in export volume was taken up by EU countries as both the US and UK saw a decline in units.

US and UK shipments down

Shipments to the US were down 8.5% to 248,659 units last year. This figure is not very surprising as the North American market is currently struggling with very high inventories in all categories. How quickly the market will pick up again is still unclear, while industry insiders were all predicting last year that the e-bike boom in the US had really started. Perhaps the economic headwind is having a bigger impact on e-bike sales than in other markets. Or the US market is shifting its focus from sourcing in Taiwan to China. While the volume was down, the export value to the US showed a striking growth of 18.1% to €421.1 million.

Another remarkable decline in units in these export statistics is shown by the UK. Taiwan lost one-third of its shipments last year compared to 2021. Even the export value decreased by more than 10%. Recent market research confirmed that e-bike sales have risen sharply since Covid but the sale volume has plateaued since 2020. According to data from Market Intelligence and Research Agency, Mintel, e-bike sales in the UK dropped to 155,000 units in 2022 from 160,000 in 2021.

Two key markets for e-bikes

The most sustainable growth was reported from Taiwan’s two most important export markets in Europe: Germany (+5.4%) and the Netherlands (+10.1%). Perhaps percentage-wise, not the biggest growth compared to other EU countries, but both countries have a solid base of e-bike sales. Besides the local production of e-bikes in the Netherlands and Germany, the two countries are also important destinations for Taiwanese e-bikes, both for distribution locally and shipments to other EU countries.

Other notable changes in the shipment of Taiwanese e-bikes are to France, Italy, and the Czech Republic. In all three countries, e-bike sales have seen solid growth over the past few years, in line with the growing export volumes from Taiwan. The variation between the average FOB prices as reported by Taiwan’s customers statistics is very big and even questionable. The average FOB price for each e-bike shipped to the Netherlands is €1,303, to Germany €816, and to the Czech Republic only €370. This can by no means reflect the local market situation or in case of the Czech Republic, the average sales price.