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Bicycle sales value in Japan 2010-2019

In 2019, the total value of bicycles sold in Japan amounted to over 73 billion Japanese yen, up from around 58 billion yen in 2010. Even though the sales value of bicycles in Japan grew continuously after a low in 2014, the number of bicycles sold domestically remained below 1.7 million units. Consequently, the average value per bicycle sold had increased.

 What is driving the price of bicycles? 

For the most part, this increase can be attributed to the overwhelming popularity of electric bicycles, in particular pedal electric cycles (pedelecs). While the shipment volume of regular city bicycles was far beyond that of e-bikes a decade ago in Japan, this balance shifted in 2018, when pedelec shipments surpassed the traditional city bicycle. Naturally, an e-bike’s production is considerably more complex and, hence, more expensive.
On top of that, the average shipment value per bike has increased disproportionally: pedelecs had a stronger price increase than other kinds of bicycles. Nonetheless: usually, pedelecs are still cheaper than regular motorized bicycles with full engine propulsion (internal combustion or electric). Due to the inexpensive nature of the pedelec, the demand for these types of motorized bicycles has fallen significantly.
Because pedelecs have found a favorable niche in the world of the two-wheeler, many people substituted their vehicle of choice for an e-bike. However, there could be a further contender to the traditional bicycle in the future: the e-scooter, also known in Japan as ‘electric kick scooter’ or ‘electric kickboard’.

 Recent developments in individual e-mobility

E-scooters, which have already been introduced in many countries throughout the world, are still rarely found in Japan. That is primarily for legal reasons, since e-scooters, as well as Segways, count as varieties of either motorized vehicles or special automobiles and are, therefore, subject to stricter traffic laws than pedelecs. They require, for example, proper registration and a number plate for use on public streets.
Moreover, e-scooters are not allowed on bike lanes. To counteract this particular legal obstacle, the government has been conducting field experiments in recent years, in which users of e-scooter sharing services are temporarily allowed to ride on bike lanes of designated areas. Depending on the outcome of those tests, a reform could take place.
Sharing services seem to favor e-scooters over Segways due to their cheaper price and familiar handling. However, e-scooters - as personal vehicles or sharing devices – have multiple limitations, legally and technologically, making exact market forecasts difficult. It remains to be seen, whether electric kick scooters will gain a foothold in the same way as the pedelec.

Sales value of bicycles in Japan from 2010 to 2019

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Sources

Release date

June 2020

Region

Japan

Survey time period

2010 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Data prior to 2013 comes from previous reporting.
Values have been rounded.
One Japanese yen equals 0.0096 U.S. dollars or 0.0079 euros as of February 2021.

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Statistics on "Bicycle industry in Japan"

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