At the beginning of May, the RAI Association published the “Key Figures Car & Mobility and Two-Wheelers 2023”. These key figures are published annually by Stichting BOVAG-RAI Automobiliteit, which charts the Dutch market for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and two-wheelers. In the key figures on the sale of two-wheelers, it is not immediately clear in which category (electric) cargo and cargo bikes fall and what the sales figures for these bicycles are.
Sluijsmans questions the RAI Association, who replied that electric cargo bikes fall into the ‘e-bikes’ category and that 8,901 cargo bikes were sold in 2022. Regular cargo bikes fall into the ‘other’ category. The RAI Association does not know how many cargo bikes without electrical assistance have been sold. The sales figures are based on a representative sample of all bicycle shops in the Netherlands, regardless of whether they are affiliated with a trade association. The research data comes from market research agency GfK.
The number of 8,901 electric cargo bikes sold is very low compared to sales in Germany, for example. In 2022, according to the ZIV Zweirad-Industrie-Verband e.V. 212,800 cargo bikes were sold. This difference can partly be explained by the fact that Germany has five times as many inhabitants and still has to catch up in the use of cargo bikes compared to the Netherlands. Another factor will be that there are interesting subsidy schemes for the purchase of cargo bikes in Germany.
In addition, it also plays a role in Germany that so-called ‘longtails’ (bicycles with an extended rear carrier) and delivery bicycles are counted as ‘Lastenrad’. In the Netherlands, a ‘bakfiets’ is a bicycle with a box in the front or at the back. A more neutral term, which includes cargo and cargo bikes as well as longtails and delivery bikes, is ‘transport bike’.
There are more than thirty manufacturers of utility and cargo bikes in the Netherlands. In addition, there are also many dozens of foreign companies active on the Dutch market. Some companies produce exclusively for the private market, others exclusively for the business market, and many companies produce for both private and business users.
Inquiries with the various cargo bike manufacturers have shown that they too have the strong impression that the sales figures of the RAI Association are far below the actual figures. Based on the data provided by them, Sluijsmans comes to the conclusion that the number of cargo bikes sold in the Netherlands in 2022 will be around 40,000. That is considerably more than the 8,901 according to the data of the RAI Association.