Italian bicycle production and tradeRegular (also known as conventional or non-motorized) bikes remain the main type of bicycle that most Italians use despite the spike in e-bike sales in the past years. The growing demand for e-bikes was largely met by increased domestic production. Italian manufacturers produced over twice as many e-bikes in 2019 compared to the previous year. Surprisingly, imports of e-bikes to Italy dropped dramatically in 2019, reaching less than half of the last year’s volume. The decline in imports was caused mainly by the EU's trade regulations imposed on Chinese exports of e-bikes and regular bicycles to the EU. Imports of regular bicycles to Italy, however, were not negatively affected by the EU’s anti-dumping measures since most imported regular bicycles come from European countries. On the contrary, imports of regular bicycles grew by 40 percent in 2019 compared to 2018.
How will the COVID-19 pandemic influence the market?The trend towards an increased popularity of cycling will most likely continue in the coming years, as it is driven by many traditional factors that will remain influential, such as the health benefits of cycling or environmental concerns over the use of fossil fuels in transport. It was the COVID-19 pandemic, however, that gave a significant boost to cycling in 2020. As individuals started looking for means of transport that would allow them to avoid crowds, they turned their attention to bicycles. Moreover, the Italian government is offering a subsidy for its city-dwellers to purchase a bicycle or subscribe to a bike sharing service, which further incentivizes Italians to switch to cycling.
While only about a third of Italians were using their bikes at least once a week in 2020, most regular and occasional cyclists stated they would ride a bike more often after a lockdown to avoid using public transport. These cyclists were also interested in buying or using an e-bike in the coming year.