AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands - Just one month ago expectations for 2009 were looked upon with mixed feelings between hope and despair. The combination of the economic downturn and the uncertainty about the weather conditions made many people cautious and reserved to do business. Despite the cold winter, the weather conditions this spring have been good for the bicycle industry. Not surprisingly the first indications we get from the market are positive.
“After a long winter, mid-March saw a good start in bicycle sales resulting in an increasing turnover and profit in the first months of 2009, compared with the same period of 2008”, said René Takens CEO of Accell Group recently at the annual meeting of share holders. According to Takens, “the demand for electric and sports bicycles in the higher segment remains strong while the bicycle in general remains a popular means of transport. Consumers are willing to spend money on bicycles even in these economically challenging times.”
“The annual sales look to be on track to outperform those of 2008”, said Jens Friis CEO of Kildemoes Cykelfabrik, Denmark’s largest bicycle producer. “It’s really a great sign when we aren’t registering a drop in sales during a serious financial crisis. The trend seems to be an increased focus on healthy living, more exercising and using less petrol.”
Danish bicycle manufacturer Mosquito has also experienced a boost during the crisis, with sales across the chain’s 77 stores increasing by 10 percent in the last six months, compared to the same period last year. Lars Neumann of Mosquito said that the effect of the financial crisis on families' budgets was causing them to look at bicycles as an alternative option.
Morten Kold from Fri-cykler, who owns 70 stores in Denmark, said the sales figures were already up on last year’s. The 400 to 500 IBDs in this small country with a high density of bicycle use, account for approximately 55% of the 550,000 bicycles that are yearly sold, while warehouses and other sources supply the rest.