Sedentary products – TVs, home theater speakers, home office equipment, appliances, and other bulky products that stay where you put them – have been the staples of consumer electronics retailers forever. But electric transportation vehicles – e-bikes and e-scooters, or e-transport for short – are a fast-moving new tech category, literally and figuratively, and may provide consumer tech retailers an exciting new product to sell.
According to CTA, 1.9 million electric-powered bikes totaling $2.13 billion and 125,000 electric scooters totaling $40 million will be sold in the U.S. this year – that’s more than 10 times the number of 8K TVs due to sell in 2022. E-transport sales are projected to hit 2.25 billion e-bikes and 131,000 e-scooters respectively in 2023, and the compound annual growth rate in the category is expected to be 71% from 2020 to 2025.
TWICE spoke to Fred Towns, president of New Age Electronics, about how consumer electronics retailers can hop on this quickly accelerating tech product category, and how retailers can speedily park e-bikes and e-scooters into their product mix and onto their show floors.
TWICE: We’ve all seen folks happily scooting about on a variety of battery-powered e-scooters and e-bikes. What’s all the hubbub about for consumer electronics retailers?
Fred Towns: There’s tremendous excitement around this category in mass and club retailers, and consumer technology retailers should absolutely be interested. Consumers are quickly adopting e-transportation, and the rental market really opened the door. As people began seeing e-bikes proliferate around town, these began to be viewed as great options for the last mile or first mile of a commute. Consumers are equipping them with saddlebags and baskets, making them particularly convenient for shopping and visiting farmer’s markets. They could even serve as alternatives to rideshares and taxis for short trips.
TWICE: What kind of retailers are best positioned to start selling e-transport vehicles, and what should they sell?
Fred Towns: We expect to see 70 percent of scooters and e-bikes sold through mass, club, and consumer technology retailers. Largely pre-assembled, e-bikes involve simply attaching handlebars and the front tire and making some adjustments.
New Age began working with the world’s largest OEM of e-bikes and scooters. The company manufactures professional-grade and business-grade products marketed under a variety of brands. The company is now entering the U.S. market under the Okai brand [and] we’ve developed a strategic relationship with them.
New Age will curate the correct assortment from the right vendors. While we are starting with the largest OEM in the world in this category, we will continue to vet products and curate the best.
TWICE: Don’t e-transport products require a different kind of display space than, say, TVs or appliances, or special merchandising?
Fred Towns: As freestanding products require no special displays, retailers would generally dedicate floor space for the best-selling models. That might mean one or two bikes and one or two scooters from a particular brand. New Age can handle drop-ship fulfillment for the extended catalog of models.
TWICE: There are a spate of local regulations concerning the use of e-bikes and other e-transport vehicles. What do retailers need to know about local laws and conditions to successfully sell e-transport vehicles in their markets?
Fred Towns: Many cities clamped down with restrictions when scooters and e-bikes initially took to the sidewalks and interfered with pedestrians, runners, and others. But with the trend toward riding e-vehicles in controlled areas like bike lanes and bike paths, the restrictions have loosened, and many towns and cities now allow the use of e-bikes on lanes dedicated to slower speeds. If entering the category, we suggest thoroughly researching and understanding the local regulations. Helmets might not be required on dedicated bike paths, for instance, but many cities do require helmets when riding in the bike lane on a public road.
TWICE: What e-transport products is New Age focused on?
Fred Towns: New Age is focused on pedal-assisted and throttle-assisted e-bikes. There is a lot of innovation in the category, particularly in the development of safety protocols and technologies. Okai, for example, has developed a backpack and helmet with built-in lighting for turn signals and brake lights.
We strongly encourage consumer technology retailers to dip their toes in the water so as not to miss this opportunity.
About New Age Electronics
New Age Electronics, a division of TD SYNNEX Corporation (NYSE: SNX), is a sales and supply chain solutions innovator that provides consumer technology (CT) manufacturers with a broad offering of logistics, distribution and remanufactured services. Extensive experience in the CT industry and a customer-centric approach has made New Age Electronics the provider of choice. New Age Electronics distinguishes itself with efficient operations and a relentless focus on customer satisfaction. Founded in 1988, New Age Electronics is headquartered in Long Beach, California.
For more information about New Age Electronics, call (310) 549-0000, toll-free (888) 234-0300, or visit the company’s website at https://www.synnexcorp.com/newageelectronics/.