“We’re currently in 500 retail outlets globally. Next year, this will double”

On the specialist e-scooter brand's 5th anniversary - Pure Electric Founder Adam Norris speaks exclusively to Zag about their global expansion and how a slow-moving Britain only speeds up his goals

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As of today – on Pure Electric’s fifth anniversary – the specialist e-scooter brand is present in eight countries and has sold over 240,000 units. 

Its revenue is up 24% on 2022, while its overheads have been cut 35%. 

Zag sits down with Adam Norris, Pure’s CEO and Founder to find out where’s next.  

Zag: What are your expansion plans over the next 12 months? 

AN: “We’re currently present in more than 500 retail outlets across the UK, France, Belgium, Spain, Finland, Australia, China and Italy. Next year, this will double to 1,000. Come Spring, we’re going to launch across the US and Canada and are in discussions with some of the largest retailers there. One deal due to close very soon is with a retailer that will give us a presence in 400 to 600 more stores over the next 12 months. The size of our business will double by just that one deal.” 

Zag: Is the strategy now to sell via third-party retail stores rather than opening your own? 

AN: “Yes, we mostly sell via third-party retailers and nearly every one has its own dedicated space for Pure. In Shanghai, one of our distributors has just opened a flagship store with plans to open five more next year to sell both in the retail space and online. In the UK, our three main retailers are Currys, Halfords and Argos and in France it’s Fnac. This is the size of company we’re aiming at in the US.” 

Zag: How has the roadblock on UK legislation impacted Pure’s progress?  

AN: “It’s frustrating that we can’t test our products on our own streets at home. I feel embarrassed that, whereas other countries are moving fast with decarbonising the planet, the UK is staying stagnant. But I think the frustration is for the consumer and the planet. It’s for the youngster who’s lonely but can’t visit his friend because it’s a five-mile walk, or the woman who can’t travel at night because she fears getting mugged. It’s those people who the government has to answer to.

“For Pure, Britain getting left behind doesn’t stop us. It just means we’re going to grow a global business, and that’s always been my dream. Britain’s legislation has forced us to be less UK-centric – and there’s a hidden gem in that, which is that we’ve gone global earlier. It’s just a shame that Britain is going so slow, because scooters will play a massive part in society and it’s not long before every single person has one.”

Zag: You think every person will own an e-scooter?

AN: “I think that by 2050 every household will have an e-scooter. If you have a goal that big, people tend to laugh at it but maybe it’s the crazy people like me that will make it happen. Where you see cars everywhere in the world, you’ll see scooters. If people are spending £18,000 on a car, then spending another £400 on a scooter to go into the city centre is what people will do. Every single city has congestion problems and so the car can’t be the solution for city centres. There will be more pressures but this will drive the industry.” 

Zag: What is it about Pure’s scooters that will encourage people to make this switch?

AN: “We’ve spent a lot of time dissecting the consumer’s needs. The mass market of people will or do live in apartments and the urban environment is going that way. If someone is going to use a scooter, they’ll want to be able to carry it down a flight of stairs or onto a train, and then maybe put it under their desk when they get into the office. The whole beauty and brilliance of our scooters is that they’re easy to fold and light to carry because the reality is there’s no way you’ll be able to leave your scooter out in London or Barcelona because it will get stolen. It took me a long time to realise that people just want a scooter that’s easy to pick up and easy to fold.

“We have also developed one of the few waterproof scooters. Our best sales in Spain come from the northern coast which is the wettest part of the country. They value having the scooter more there than they do in regions which don’t rain. Another selling point is that the larger handlebars and wider foot platform caters to people of all sizes.”

Zag: You’ve worked with notable celebrities like fashion designer Stella McCartney and also your son Lando, a British Formula 1 driver. How has this helped build Pure’s credibility?

AN: “It’s definitely giving people confidence. Stella McCartney hosted a show where she wanted one side of the catwalk to be filled with world-leading companies that care for the environment and she invited us to attend. In Australia, they’re using Lando to advertise the scooter on big billboards.

“Lando enjoys riding the scooter and I think this gives people reassurance that it’s going to be a good product.  We’re in around 190 of those JB HI-Fi stores there, which is very similar to the size of Currys in the UK.The business is in better shape than ever and we’re in a strong position. We’ve got cash in the bank and a massive order book. Our biggest problem is there’s so many retailers wanting to come on board and we just can’t facilitate them all.”