Thank you, China

Remember when it was a decision between buying an electric skateboard and a used car? Remember, that was only a couple of years ago. Fortunately, times have changed, prices came down a lot. But why, do we pay less because we also get less? Here is a short explanation.

Prices of electric skateboards have sharply declined in the last years. Below is a chart showing the average price for newly released electric skateboards between 2015 and 2019. In these last 4 years, we saw a year-on-year decline of -12% on average. Data basis are 182 electric skateboards released between 2015 and 2019 (full list to be found here). In 2015, one had to pay USD 1,098 for a new electric skateboard whereas in 2019, it was only USD 647.

Average price of newly released electric skateboards

Do we pay less because we get less?

We have seen that before. Take cars for example. You can get a new car for under USD 10,000. Because people want cars for less than 10,000. They dont care about performance and probably also not that much about build quality. Thus, car companies build cars of low build quality and almost no horsepower. Is that happening in e-skateboarding too?

When it comes to perfomance, quite the opposite happened. In fact, performance has improved. The average skateboard is now +3 mph faster (25 to 22 mph in 2015) and takes you +1 miles farther (15mi to 16mi in 2015).

Average speed and range of newly released electric skateboards

On build quality, that might be the case. Typically a USD 500 board does not have the same quality as its USD 1,500-rival. However, we experienced a sharp decrease in prices while at the same time electric skateboard performance improved – how is this possible?

Thank you, China

Below is a chart on the market share of Chinese electric skateboards (measured as percentage of all electric skateboards that are released by Chinese companies). From 2015 to 2019, we saw an increase from 18% to 40%, meaning almost half of the electric skateboard models you can get on this planet are from China. And they managed to lower prices significantly. The average Chinese board is USD 488 whereas the average US board is USD 1,120.

Market share of Chinese electric skateboards

How do they do it? Likely it is a combination of proximity to electronic industries (inexpensive batteries, parts), low wages and of course also a lower build quality. However, for the most of us, quality of Chinese boards is fine, or at least – after years of improvement – NOW its fine.

Chinese boards used to be bad, like really bad (if you don’t believe me, ride Yuneec’s first board the E-Go 1). These days, we have companies like Meepo writing their own success story delivering one excellent board after the other.

So, at this point in time, we need to send a big thank you to the Chinese – for making electric skateboarding affordable for all of us.