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Electric bike sales volume Japan 2010-2019

As of 2019, around 698.23 thousand electric power assist bicycles were sold in Japan, worth almost 58 billion Japanese yen in sales. The sales volume of 2019 indicated an increase of approximately 30 thousand units compared to the previous year. While Japan produced around 884 thousand bicycles in 2019, those figures barely covered the domestic demand. More than six million bicycles were imported into the country over the same year.

What makes e-bikes popular?

The most common type among Japanese cyclists was the so called mamachari, which can be loosely translated as 'granny’s bike'. A mamachari is a general utility bicycle, particularly popular among housewives and students commuting to school or running daily errands. As of 2019, e-bikes were the third most popular bicycle type, with almost 10 percent of bicycle owners in Japan opting for the motorized version.

When electric power assist bicycles were introduced to the Japanese market, the main target group were the elderly, who benefitted from having to use less physical strength to navigate their daily life on a bicycle. In recent years, however, parents of preschool children have come to rely increasingly on the practicality of e-bikes when taking their kids to day-care facilities. Generally speaking, the main benefit of motorized bicycles, such as pedelecs, is the convenience they add to everyday life, like running errands or commuting, according to e-bike owners in Japan.

While bicycles equipped with self-propulsion systems are considered mopeds in Japan and are, therefore, subject to compliant traffic laws, models using an electric power assisted system to support the pedaling motion fall legally under the category of bicycles. Looser regulations for certain types of e-bikes are an additional factor contributing to the success story of electric power assist bicycles in Japan.

What are the risks of electric bicycles?

E-bikes tend to be heavier and, due to their built-in electric motor, also faster than the average bicycle. Such factors can contribute to a heightened risk of road accidents. However, the number of accidents involving motorized bicycles decreased from over 25 thousand in 2010 to under eight thousand cases in 2019. While the majority of overall bicycle accidents were caused by road users being negligent towards the traffic situation, another common reason for (near) accidents was the usage of mobile phones, headphones, or umbrellas while riding a bike.

Annual sales volume of electric power assist bicycles in Japan from 2010 to 2019

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Release date

May 2020



Survey time period

2010 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Data prior to 2019 come from previous reports.
Figures have been rounded.

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Statistics on "Bicycle industry in Japan"

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