People examine the latest electric bicycles at the Sweden Bike Expo in Stockholm, capital of Sweden, March 19, 2016. Cargo bikes are very popular for many Swedish families who use them instead of cars for local transport and were well-represented at the Expo. (Xinhua/Rob Schoenbaum)
STOCKHOLM, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- The electric bike has been tipped as this year's hottest Christmas present in Sweden, an announcement that coincides with the government's fall budget, which included a proposal to introduce a subsidy on electric bikes.
HUI Research, an institute owned by the Swedish Trade Federation, has selected the Swedish Christmas present of the year since 1988. According to the institute, the electric bike has, in a short time, gone from being an exclusive item to having mass appeal. It has the potential "to change both society's infrastructure and human behavior," according to a statement published on the HUI Research website on Tuesday.
"The electric bike is reaching a bigger market. It takes the pressure off car traffic and public transport and has the potential to speed up the development of smarter cities," said HUI Research CEO Jonas Arnberg.
"Concern about the climate, the health trend, and the government subsidy make it the obvious Christmas present of the year," Arnberg said of the electric bike. More than one in 10 bikes sold in Sweden today are electric. Last year, a total 45,000 electric bikes were sold in the Nordic country.
The Christmas present of the year must fulfill at least one of three criteria: It must either be a novelty, have the potential to sell, and/or represent contemporary society.
According to HUI Research, the electric bike "reflects Swedish consumers' growing climate awareness, willingness to stay healthy and to be free, flexible, and sometimes comfortable".
In 1988, HUI Research's Christmas present of the year was an electric bread maker. In 2016, it was virtual reality glasses.