Once again CIE had a packed programme at the world’s largest bike expo. Far too many encounters, meetings and events to catch them all, but here’s our team’s immediate reflections on the main themes from four days in Frankfurt.
Despite inventory worries underlying market conditions are strong, especially for e-bikes
From the opening press conference on day one it was clear that the underlying mood in the industry is confident, despite current high levels of inventory slowing sales in the short term.
CIE’s CEO Kevin Mayne told the media “The underlying economics of our industry are in fantastic shape. Governments at every level, EU, national, city and regional are investing, which is generating around 7% new riders every year. The cyclists we created during the pandemic are also still riding, in fact with a gradual return to work we see daily cycling counts rising even more. Growth is not at the rate during the pandemic, but this is really strong market development. Other industries look at cycling jealously, there is nowhere else in mobility and tourism with these numbers.”
Statistics from many attendees confirmed CIE’s research, e-bikes are growing the value in the market and supporting the mechanical bike sector which is struggling most with high inventories, but companies can see the growth potential once this wave passes through the sector.
Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration…
Ask the speakers at all the public panels during Eurobike about the keys for success in the industry and the reply was overwhelming: “collaboration”.
The challenges of collecting data, supply chains, inventory management, compliance with new regulations and sustainability cannot be achieved by any one company in isolation, not even global leaders in the industry. On a national and international level there were repeated calls for all parties to work together. Alex Thun, CEO of Thun and Chair of CIE and CONEBI's sustainability expert group emphasised the message "We need to place collaboration at the core of our efforts" he said.
CIE’s New Members’ Panel on Thursday also asked the leaders of Bike Republic, Velopass, Woomand Messingschlager why they joined the association and they universally identified this need to network and collaborate. This was echoed in almost every side meeting with company leaders.
CIE’s Industry Manager Jacques Lovell confirmed the message “The level of engagement by our members in these key topics is fantastic to see, and I am looking forward to working with many other companies that are contacting us to see how they can be part of this industry-wide momentum for change”.
Perhaps the busiest programme of the week was Friday’s Sustainability Thread, which took on an ambitious agenda to cover the many dimensions of sustainability from local to global levels. CIE partnered with CONEBI and German organisations Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (ZIV), Verbund Service und Fahrrad (VSF) and Zukunft Fahrrad and VeloLab to give a wide perspective to many issues. The packed audience confirmed that sustainability is one of the hottest topics in the industry today.
Lauha Fried, CIE’s Policy Director and leader of our sustainability workstream said “Using bikes is a green and sustainable method of transport and leisure. But sustainability is now front of mind for most companies, and I am delighted to be supporting so many ambitious company plans to meet the challenges of climate and waste.”
Included were national ambitions, company transformations, guidelines to the German Sustainability Code and a Platform for Sustainable Materials.
CIE Members were delighted to announce their commitment to the Cycling Industry Climate Pledge, created by CIE and CONEBI. Through the pledge companies will be able to set their ambitions for reducing and measuring carbon emissions by 2030 and challenge their suppliers to join their ambition.
A comprehensive report on the morning’s programme has been published by our friends at Bike Europe here
Leaders’ Breakfast learns secrets of success from top policy experts
CIE’s main event for industry leaders was back in its usual position at Thursday Breakfast, providing inspiration and strategic oversights for CEOs, Presidents and directors in the bike sector. This was the 10th edition of CIE leadership event at Eurobike, with our proven track record for bringing together industry leaders to exchange on the main topics for growing the industry of the future.
Highlight for many was a unique panel featuring three of the industry’s leading public affairs experts from PON, Bosch and Decathlon. Rayond Gense, Friederike Pischnick and Bertrand Tison discussed how recognition by the EU of the cycling industrial sector on the same level as automotive or public transport could bring both challenges and opportunities to companies.
Raymond gave the example of how cycling needed to develop to be players at this level "To step up, we needed collaboration to solve issues develop cycling as an ecosystem with services as well as industry. The service side is what grows in the world. Owning stuff is becoming less important than using stuff.", while Friederike also mentioned the need for a stronger voice "We need to be part of the discussion. The car industry is numerous, speaks with one voice, and complains more than we do!"
The experts were unanimous that the industry must prepare for change, with great potential for collaborations with the EU and governments if the industry shows it can collaborate and invest.
Connected cycling, connected companies, connected industry
The Eurobike Show came just in time to announce CIE’s new EU co-funded project MegaBITS, a €5million new initiative where six leading cities will create city-wide flagship projects that show the leading edge of cycling and connected technologies.
CIE’s role in the project will be to bring industry expertise into the consortium and expand the use of our “One-Stop-Shop” BITS Directory for products, services and research into connected cycling which helps customers find suppliers and solutions for their digital challenges.
This matched many of the themes of Eurobike with considerable interest into conference sessions on smart cities, Digital Product passports and bike registration schemes and the use of connectivity for security and safety.
Kevin Mayne announced the MegaBITS project to two meetings of industry leaders and who all expressed support for strengthening the digital connectivity of the industry, both for consumers, public bodies and for B2B use.
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