The e-bike market is growing at a fast pace, propelled in large part by consumer and corporate interest in sustainability. Fortune Business Analysis, as reported by Inside EVs, estimates that the global market will increase from $37.47 billion in 2022 to an expected $43.32 billion in 2023, translating to annual growth of 15.61%. By 2030, sales are forecast to hit $119.72 billion, representing a compound annual growth rate of 15.63% from 2023 to 2030.
Meanwhile, licensing and collaborations involving e-bikes, while still accounting for a small portion of the market, are becoming more frequent, especially in the past year, following sporadic examples over the past five years or more. The types of IP entering the sector are also broadening beyond the automative-related brands that dominated the space initially.
A sampling of recent e-bike pairings around the world illustrates the trend:
- Blaupunkt acquired collegiate licensing rights from Learfield-owned agency CLC in a deal announced last week. The company will sell FIENE 20-inch foldable e-bikes featuring the colors, logos, and other marks of Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia Tech, Louisville, North Carolina, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Vanderbilt initially, with more schools expected to be added. In their announcement, the partners cited growing demand among young people for environmentally responsible mobility solutions. The first products will be available in time for the holiday 2023 season.
- Belgian e-bike marketer Cowboy paired with Parisian design label ba&sh, in a deal announced in September 2023. The limited-edition Cruiser ST was touted as a solution for women as they navigate their busy lives. The low-speed and short-range bike, of which only 25 units were made, had sand-colored saddle and tires and a lavender frame.
- Super73, a California e-bike brand, partnered in June 2023 with surf brand Vissla for a version of its flagship S2 model with fat tires (supplied by GRZLY) and a surfboard rack, as well as a surfboard created by French designer Paul Duvignau. Super73 is a regular collaborator with fashion and pop-culture properties, with partners having included READYMADE, the label of designer Yuta Hosokawa; Viz Media and its manga horror series Uzumaki (accompanied by an apparel capsule from CultureFly); streetwear brand Neighborhood; the Yves Saint Laurent luxury brand; and Mattel’s Hot Wheels (accompanied by a Super 73 die-cast), among others.
- Verge Motorcycles, in May 2023, announced it was working with former Formula 1 driver and two-time champion Mika Häkkinen on an edition of 100 high-end, high-performance e-bikes. The “superbike” was based on the company’s TS Pro model. Häkkinen hails from Finland, where Verge is headquartered.
- French company Angell Mobility paired with BMW in April 2023 to create e-bikes based on the Mini brand. The limited-edition model, meant for urban mobility, was high-performance and had built-in digital features. The partnership was aligned with Mini’s stated plans to become an all-electric vehicle brand. (A number of other car companies have partnered with e-bike companies, going back to at least 2018.)
- Honda collaborated with Muji, the Tokyo-headquartered lifestyle retailer positioned as offering quality products at a value price, for a stylish, low-speed, low-range MS01 e-bike meant for short daily commutes. The limited-edition product, announced in June 2022, was available in China initially before expanding into other territories, including the Philippines. It was offered in black or white and, like Muji’s core product line, designed in a minimalist style.
Outbound licensing and collaboration deals tied to e-bike-related brands are also on the rise. Two such pairings occurred this past summer. LIME, the e-bike and e-scooter sharing service, paired with British designer Lydia Bolton, known for her emphasis on sustainability, for a Re-Cycle collection of cycling-appropriate streetwear in the brand’s lime green, blue, and white color scheme. And Volt e-bikes paired with Mad Squirrel Brewery in Hertfordshire, U.K., in July to launch a limited Post-Ride Talus Pale Ale. Mad Squirrel’s efforts to reduce waste and increase recycling, among other eco-friendly ventures, fit with Volt’s stated goals to find partners that have sustainable practices in place.