E-bikes on the up across Europe as one in four already use an e-bike or are likely to buy or use one this year

New SHIMANO STEPS research shows:

  • 17% of people in Europe say they are more likely to buy or use an e-bike this year, compared to the last twelve months, with 8% already owning one.
  • Helping people ride further and obtain better physical health are the main reasons
  • 18-24-year-olds in the UK have said they are more likely to use one than any other age groups.

The e-bike revolution has built momentum over the past few years as e-bike attitudes and awareness shifts. What was once a rare sight on the roads and cycleways of Europe is now becoming more and more common. Especially as 2020 has shown, as Europeans adapt to huge changes in our daily lives to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, e-bikes can play a big part in our futures.

  • jpg

A new pan-European report of over 13,000 people from 11 countries for SHIMANO shows that a quarter of Europeans (24%) already own an e-bike or are likely to buy or use an e-bike more this year, compared to last year. Incredibly, 11% of the potential e-bike users say they currently never use a normal bike.

The SHIMANO STEPS E-bike Index 2020 aims to compare attitudes towards e-bikes across major European countries and explore what is stopping widespread adoption, along with why people are turning towards e-bikes for commuting, leisure and transportation.

For example, the UK has the smallest amount of people saying they will try an e-bike, with just 7% whilst almost one in three (30%) in Italy said they would buy or use an e-bike this year.  In some countries like Denmark, Switzerland and the UK, there are promising signs amongst the younger generation as 18-24-year-olds have said they are more likely to use one than any other age groups.

  • jpg

However, for all age groups, despite many wanting to use a bike to improve their physical health, amongst those who are not likely to ride an e-bike or already own one, there is still a small perception that fitness wouldn't improve riding an e-bike, with 19% stating that might put them off. A recent study, however, by the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity showed "evidence that e-cycling can improve cardiorespiratory fitness. E-cycling can contribute to meeting physical activity recommendations and increasing physical fitness. As such, e-bikes offer a potential alternative to conventional cycling."

As to why there is a shift towards e-bikes, the benefits affecting the physical activity and health of individuals is almost universally recognised. The majority (31%) of those who were likely to use or already owned one say they would mainly use an e-bike for leisure or family activities, hinting that an e-bike's appeal isn't just limited to commuting (although over a quarter - 28% - would commute on their e-bike). A third (32%) have said they would buy or use an e-bike this year to conquer longer distances or steeper climbs, and many would use one to improve their physical (30%) and mental (22%) health.

  • jpg

In some countries, the reasons for using an e-bike differ quite dramatically. In the Netherlands - where a whopping 78% of the population ride a bike at least once a month - the main reason (39%) given by those wanting to ride an e-bike this year was that they would do because it looks like less effort. And with most e-bikes providing up to 25km/h of pedal-assisted motion, who can blame them!

 There is also a nod to environmental reasons for using an e-bike - one in five (18%) adults in the countries surveyed say they are likely to start using an e-bike because they are concerned about the environmental impact of their travel. With young adults (18-24), this rises to over a quarter (26%).

"From adventurous mountain bikers to urban commuters, there is now an e-bike for everyone", says Jeroen Van Vulpen, Brand Manager from Shimano. "We see that e-bikes will continue to become a desirable option for people who want to get outdoors and ride for fun, for fitness or for an affordable and more environmentally-conscious commute.

"Making that leap from a regular bicycle, or from other private or public transport methods towards an e-bike is a decision that can be affected by many different factors. Not least the restrictions in the way in which we are able to travel across towns and cities throughout Europe. From buses to trains and ferries, public transport has been affected and personal space is in high demand, bringing increasing interest to the e-bike market. This report goes some way to shedding light on those factors. It will undoubtedly contribute to our own learning and we sincerely hope everyone interested in e-bikes can learn from it too."

Likelihood to buy or use an e-bike in 2020 (percentage of population according to YouGov survey)

1.    ITALY (30%)

2.    SWITZERLAND (26%)

3.    POLAND (26%)


5.    SPAIN (21%)

6.    FRANCE (19%)

7.    NORWAY (13%)

8.    SWEDEN (11%)

9.    DENMARK (11%)

10.  GERMANY (10%)

11.  UK (7%)


As the world comes out of a health crisis, the positive aspects of increasing physical activity and mental health will mean the sight of more e-bikes on our streets will continue as Europeans look for more sustainable and active ways of travelling.

For more information on the SHIMANO STEPS E-bike Index 2020, please visit: https://shimano-steps.com/e-bikes/europe/en/state-of-the-nation-report



1.       Supporting images are available on Google drive here.


2.       SHIMANO STEPS has developed a brand selector that guides new e-bike riders to their dream bike. This can be found HERE with a full list of the very best e-bike brands that will enable people to find sustainable and active ways of travelling by e-bike.


3.       All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 13,412 adults in the Netherlands (1,000), Italy (1,031), Denmark (1,028), France (1,012), Sweden (1,019), Germany (2,113), UK (2163), Switzerland (1,000), Norway (1,009), Spain (1,040) and Poland (997). Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th March - 29th April 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been given an even weighting for each country to produce an 'average' value.


4.       SHIMANO STEPS is the name of Shimano's e-bike system, which is comprised of hardware, such as a drive unit, drivetrain, computer display unit and a battery, plus software for mobile devices to give consumers assisted riding up to a statutory 25 km/h (15.5 mph). Shimano itself has almost 100 years' experience in creating internationally renowned bicycle components, Shimano is proud to have developed products that provide the means for limitless global bicycle journeys. For further press material from Shimano see https://media.shimano-eu.com/

Contact details

Related topics

Receive exclusive news

Are you a journalist or do you work for a publication?
Sign up and request access to exclusive news.

Request access

Receive Shimano news on your RSS reader.

Or subscribe through Atom URL manually