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Taiwan enjoys export revenue boom, e-bike sales help lead 2018 recovery

Published March 25, 2019

TAIPEI, Taiwan (BRAIN) — With the Taipei Cycle Show set to open Wednesday, manufacturers are celebrating what appears to be a surge in export revenue in 2018 thanks in part to increasing demand for e-bikes.

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The value of overall bicycle and component exports topped $3.21 billion—a 14.9 percent year-on-year increase, Taiwan's Customs Administration reports.

While the value of Taiwan's exports is up when compared to a tepid 2017, it's a complicated picture for the industry.

For example, the number of traditional units exported — excluding e-bikes — dipped 6.7 percent to 2.2 million units; that's compared to 2.4 million units in 2017.

Still, the average unit price for traditional bicycles grew 19.4 percent compared to 2017, to $668.83. Helping drive that increase was demand for higher value carbon fiber full-suspension bikes. Meanwhile, e-bike exports grew 56.1 percent to 283,000 units compared to 181,000 units in 2017. And overall export value was up 51.9 percent reaching $375 million compared to $247 million in 2017.

Taiwan's top five markets include the Netherlands, the U.S., Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain. The U.S. market saw a 103.4 percent increase in unit deliveries from Taiwan in 2018 to 55,000 e-bikes compared to 27,000 units in 2017.

The Customs Department noted that the value of e-bikes shipped to the U.S. also doubled from $38 million in 2017 to more than $73 million last year with an average unit price of $1,327. Still, despite increased demand, the unit value per e-bike dipped slightly by 2.9 percent to $1,326 from $1,364 in 2017 as suppliers pushed for lower prices.

Parts and accessory manufacturers also had good news to celebrate. The export value of a variety of parts and accessories grew to $1.4 billion—an 11.3 percent increase. Still, the market for Taiwan's P&A manufacturers is mixed.

As the volume for traditional bicycles has softened, it's impacting a variety of makers that supply hubs, rims, tires, and cockpit parts.

Suppliers, on the other hand, are eager to bring e-bike prices down in a highly competitive market. To meet key price points, suppliers are demanding lower prices from name-brand manufacturers for parts and components or they are spec'ing lower value in-house products.

The Customs Bureau also broke down exports by region with the North American Free Trade Area and the European Union accounting for 77 percent of Taiwan's business. Units shipped to the U.S., Canada and Mexico accounted for 600,000 bicycles while the EU imported more than 1.1 million. Within the EU, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany absorbed the largest share of Taiwan bicycles.

The U.S. market had the second highest average selling price per unit overall (e-bikes plus traditional bicycles) among Taiwan's top 10 markets at $842.80. Only the Netherlands was higher at $889.10—an indication of that country's demand for e-bikes.

The UK, Taiwan's third largest market, averaged $481 per unit, while its fourth largest market, Germany, lagged far behind at $402 per unit.

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike, Taipei Cycle Show

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