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Italy 2006: More Bicycles Sold, Less Import

0 322 Sales & Trends

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MILAN, Italy – Last year, the Italian market again asked for more bicycles. Domestic consumption rose by 3.5% and this stimulated bike production. At the same time, the import of complete bicycles dropped with 6.9%. A pity for the Italians, but their export also suffered.
 
According to the statistics of ANCMA (the National Association for the Bicycle and Motorcycle Industry) the Italian industry produced a total of 2,418,000 bicycles, a marginal increase of 0.8% on the total for 2005. Bicycle exports continued to loose ground: 7.8% down to 1,248,810, while the import of complete bicycles decreased to 764,119 units.
 

Italian Bicycle Market 2002 – 2006 (in units)

 
Production
Export
Import
Consumption
2002
2,350,000
1,419,193
453,951
1,384,758
2003
2,550,000
1,588,963
471,550
1,432,587
2004
2,600,000
1,554,246
631,036
1,676,790
2005
2,400,000
1,343,286
631,036
1,877,450
2006
2,418,000
1,238,810
764,119
1,943,309
Source: ANCMA
 

Difficult year

The overall situation in the Italian bicycle market is good. The domestic market grew to a very healthy and presumably stable 1,943,309 units sold. When we look at the figures for the last five years (see table), the home production of 2,418,000 units can be called on par. Nevertheless, 2006 was a difficult year. Main reason is not just the slip in numbers exported: a total of 1,238,810 bikes crossed the Italian borders; compared to the 2005 total of 1,343,286 units, a drop of 7.8% and a negative development which started in 2005.
 
Less worrying for the Italians is the decrease of bicycles imported by 6.9% to 764,119 units. Although there is strong competition among the EU bike markets, the average value of the exported Italian bicycles went up by 7.7% to € 100.70 (2005: €93.48 and 2004: €80.66). The average value of the imported bicycles into Italy went also up by 14.8% to € 96.76 (2005: € 84.26) suggesting a shift away from the cheapest as an effect of the anti-dumping duties on China and Vietnam bikes.
 

Production and consumption

The unexpected boom in the domestic demand gave a push to the home production. After many years of decline, the Italian industry recorded a healthy increase to 2,600,000 units in 2004. But it went down to 2,400,000 in 2005 and recovered a bit to 2,418,000 in 2006.
 
Domestic consumption continued to recover as well since 2002, after decades of gradual slowdown. Deliveries of complete bikes to the various distribution channels totalled 1,943,309 units in 2006 which is a nice 3.5% up on the 2005 figure of 1,877,450 bicycles.
 
The use of the mountainbike for leisure is reflected in the high figures for the production per category. The 2005 figures show that the share of MTBs in the production of Italian makers came down just a little from 35% to 33.5%. City and Sport bikes (including hybrid, trekking and comfort models) represent only 18% of the Italian production. The road racers, vital for the Italian industry, showed a slight increase in production share to 4.1%. Childrens’ and youngsters’ bikes are the biggest category with 44.5%.
 

Less import

The plus side of the consumption success was the brake on imported bicycles. In fact, for the first time in many years it decreased with 6.9% from 820,736 to 764,119 units. Hopes that the import will decrease still more seem justified, but it will surely not go down to the level of 225,000 units as in 2000.
 
The Italian situation may be proof that the actual anti-dumping duties for import of complete bicycles from China and Vietnam are working. Of course, some say it is not enough yet. But in any case, the import prices are gradually getting higher. They are still in such a price bracket that importers continue to bring them into the country, even in great numbers. The average price of imported bicycles increased for the first time since 2000. The price went up 14.8% to € 96.76 compared to € 84.26 in 2005 and even € 173.67 in 2000.
 

Parts and Components

With companies like Campagnolo, Gruppo and various saddle makers, Italy is one of few European countries with an extensive bicycle component industry. But in 2004, the situation started to change. From a rather stable situation, the Italian ISTAT statistics bureau shows that the export value of Italian-made components went a bit down from € 369.93 million, with 0.2% to € 369.22 million in the year 2006, but recorded a large loss of 9.7% in the quantities exported.
 
The Italian saddle makers recorded an overall 1.9% export decrease in 2006 in value to € 66.96 million, but that meant 6.6% in quantity. In view of this development, the antidumping duties on saddles are logical and well applied, from the Italians’ point of view. This issue sparked quite a discussion when it was requested by the ESMA (The European Saddle Manufacturers’ Association) as it could be the start of a series of antidumping applications for many types of other products, but these fears have not materialized yet.
 

Rim industry

The statistics also show some recovery in the export of Italian rims. Due to the financial difficulties of Vuelta during 2004-05, the export of Italian rims collapsed by 33.6% to € 8.5 million in 2005 (from € 12.8 million in 2004) and of 46.4% in units. Vuelta has recovered, but the overall 2006 results still show losses of 14.8% in value and 8% in units.
 
A negative development is the continuing decrease in group sets, cranksets and chain wheels. The statistics recorded for this segment a minus of 13% from € 16.49 to € 14.35 million. Cranksets were even down 76%! These figures mainly represent the closure of the Italian Shimano factory and Ofmega.
 
The records also show a huge decrease in the export of group sets: minus 45.8% in value to € 10.7 million and minus 23.4% in units. These figures show the trend to lower price products, but also the fact that the Italian industry has outsourced the production of certain parts to other EU countries. The export of Italian made carriers has also decreased in 2006; minus 44% in units. At the same time, import more than doubled (1.18 million from 0.55 million).
 

Helmets

Italian helmets have a good reputation all over the world. From 2004 on, it was no longer economically feasible to produce helmets in Italy in the low-price segment. In fact the Italian suppliers making budget products closed their doors in 2005. The remaining Italian suppliers concentrate on products for the mid- and high-end market segments.
 
 “These suppliers did a good job and they are economically healthy,” claims Gianluca Solani, ANCMA’s helmet expert. The production of Italian helmets increased in 2006 to 2.95 million units; 16.1% up on the 2005 total. Export was the main driving force with an increase of 17.8% to 1.78 million units. The Italian home market was equally strong: an increase of 13.6% to a total of 1.17 million units. The low-price market has been taken over by imported helmets with products sold by the mass-markets.
 

ANCMA

With the home consumption of bicycles up 3.5% in 2006, the Italian industry association ANCMA is satisfied. Their various promotion campaigns which started in 2003 now pay off. Domestic production is doing well and at the same time the import of bicycles is decreasing.
 

Italian Bicycle Production by Category

 
2005
2006
MTB
35.0%
33.5%
City, Sport
17.5%
18.0%
Kid Bikes<20”
43.5%
44.5%
Road Bikes
4.0%
4.1%
Source: ANCMA
 
 

Motorcycles Continue as the Driving Force on Growth

With 2005 an outstanding year for the Italian motorcycle trade, the 2006 results were even better. The total number of PTWs sold was 556,617 units, and that means 1.12% more than the 550,449 units of 2005. Registered vehicles over 50 cc numbered 446,767, which is 5.83% more than the record year of 2005. 164,256 new motorcycles were registered, which is 9.7% more than in 2005.
 
The downward trend in popularity of the 50 cc scooter continued: 14.37% less 50 cc’s were sold. The market that meant 10 years ago 700,000 units, has gone back to barely 110,000 in 2006. After the record year of 2005, the 2006 results were even better than expected. Fact is that the economy recovers a bit, but the reality that it is almost impossible to move around by car in the Italian cities is probably more influential.
 
Ever more Italian citizens use a PTW for commuting in the cities. “They are no PTW adepts, but they are car users who have no other option to reach their place of work,” explained Claudio de Vittis, PTW expert at the Confidustria-ANCMA press conference. Total registrations of over 50cc PTWs increased to 446,449 and the pushing power was the motorbike segment with an increase of 9.07% which surpassed the increase of 4.03% more scooter registrations.
 

Motorbikes

The Italian market for motorbikes continued to increase. The trend towards engines with higher capacities continues. While the 500cc class declined 9.63% to 9,121 units, motorbikes with bigger engines went up. The 750cc class grew with 17.34% to 45,525 registrations. The same trend was seen in the 600cc class which increased 8.50% to 36,651 units. While the 1000cc segment went up 2.23% to 32,344 units, the over 1000cc motorcycles went up 7.98% to 22,312 registrations.
 
The excellent results of the various Italian racers and racing bikes in the road racing World Championships continue to play a positive role in the Italian motorbike market. Seen in another way than by engine capacity, the trend for ‘naked’ motorbikes continued with a total of 66,959 registrations in 2006 (+16%).
 
The new trend of the Supermotard class seems to continue, although it is still small: 8,501 units representing a +9% increase. Street Enduros recorded an increase of 5% to 29,144 registrations. These three categories have in common that they are easier to handle and are very user friendly. Therefore, they are attractive for casual users. Although Supersport motorbikes lost some of their strength with 31,963 registrations –minus 1%- it continues to be the second highest category.
 
The good results of the ‘naked’ segment can be seen in the Top-20 registrations. Top honors were taken by Suzuki GSR 600 on 8th place overall (7,595 units) followed by the Honda Hornet 600 (7,580 registrations) on 9th place; Yamaha FZ6 (6,655 registrations) on 11th place while the direct competitor Kawasaki ER-6N (5,782 units) obtained 14th position overall.
 

Maxi and Mega Scooters

Over 50cc scooters recorded 4.03% more than 2005 at a very high level: 282,511 vs 271,575 units. But there are some important details to look at:
  • The Italian mail delivery services ordered 25,000 Piaggio Liberty-125 scooters. The last batches totalling 19,500 bikes were registered during the first three months of 2006. Without these registrations, the final result for over 50cc scooters would have been a just a bit (-3%) in the negative.
     
  • The trend towards 250cc scooters continued; these recorded a large 14% increase in registrations in 2006 (62,900 vs 55,198). The big hits in this segment are the attractive Piaggio Beverly 250 (13,581 units) but in particular the very successful newcomers Yamaha X-Max-250 (11,765 pieces) and the Vespa GTS-250 (6,069 units). 
     
  • Other successful 250cc scooters are Kymco Xciting-250 (4,031 registrations), Yamaha Majesty-250 (3,348 units), Honda Forza (3,168 pieces) and Malaguti Password-250 (3,166 units). The new 250cc’s have less power but similar features and comfort as the 500cc’s at a much lower price.
Although the 500cc segment lost a lot to the 250cc it remained at a high level with 61,190 registrations (from 63,137 in 2005). The same can be said of the 200cc segment which concluded the year with 67,715 units sold (down from 80,184 units).
 

50cc

The 50cc scooter market continued to loose ground. The small scooter segment recorded a minus 14.37% to 109,850 (from 128,284) deliveries. In fact since 1998 (685,692 units) the small class has continuously gone down. The uprise in 2005 was based on the incentives of the ministry for the environment giving € 250 for the purchase of environmentally friendly small scooters complying with EURO-2 specs. But these incentives ran out after the first three months of 2006.
 
In view of the fact that there are a lot (around 3 million!) of small scooters in Italy which do not comply with any EURO regulations) new incentives are foreseen for the second half of 2007.
 

The National Industry

It is true that the Italian market had a good year in 2006, but it is also true that the imported vehicles did even better on the Italian market. For under 50cc vehicles, home production and imports suffered to the same degree. For registered scooters, the picture is not the same: registrations of Italian scooters over 50cc were in fact only 1.9% higher (174,843 units) while imported scooters (107,668 units) scored 7.7% better.
 
Small clouds are hanging over Italian made motorbikes. While imported motorbikes reached a plus 11.69% (123,294 registrations), registrations of Italian-made motorcycles increased just slightly by 1.89% to 40,962 units.
 
According to ANCMA’s Claudio de Vittis the new models to be presented at last years’ EICMA will improve the position of the Italian industry within the national market, watch for the 2007 figures.
 
The Italian industry saw a very good development of export activity. The quantities increased by 4.3% (for under 50cc) and 20.9% (for over 50cc). The value for the under 50cc PTWs decreased slightly by 0.5% but the over 50cc average value increased with a large 21.8%.
 
The figures for units include some differences caused by stocks but that cannot spoil the observation that the situation for the Italian industry is healthy. The Italian PTW market in general is expected to continue to grow in the near future. Fact is that it is increasingly difficult to move around by car in the Italian cities. Worries about global warming may be helpful as well.
 
 

Italian Scooter & Motorcycle Market (in units)

 
2003
2004
2005
2006
change
<50cc mopeds, scooters
161,893
132,367
127,461
109,850
-14.37%
>50cc scooters
276,542
273,977
271,544
282,511
+4.03%
>50cc motorcycles
130,585
147,512
149,536
164,256
+9.07%
Total
569,020
553,856
548,541
556,617
+1.12%
Source: ANCMA / Ministry of Transport
 

Italian >50cc Scooter Segments (in units)

 
2005
2006
change
till 125cc
68,188
87,104
+27.74%
126/200cc
80,184
67,715
-15.55%
201/250cc
55,198
62,900
+13.95%
251/500cc
63,137
61,090
-3.24%
501/600cc
1,340
912
-31.94%
> 600cc
3,528
2,790
20.92%
Source: ANCMA / Ministry of Transport
 

Italian >50cc Motorcycle Segments (in units)

 
2005
2006
change
51/125cc
10,154
11,251
+10.80%
126/200cc
1,038
1,778
+71.29%
201/250cc
4,426
5,274
+19.16%
251/500cc
10,093
9,121
-9.63%
501/600cc
33,780
36,651
+8.50%
601/750cc
38,799
45,525
+17.34%
751/1000cc
31,637
32,344
+2.23%
>1000cc
20,663
22,312
+7.98%
Source: ANCMA / Ministry of Transport
 

Italian >50cc Motorcycle Types (in units)

 
2005
2006
change
Others
2,944
5,659
+ 92.22%
Cross
476
179
- 62.39%
Custom
10,711
10,956
+ 2.29%
Eduro
27,833
29,144
+ 4.71%
Naked
57,622
66,959
+ 16.20%
Sport
32,191
31,963
- 0.71%
Supermotard
7,801
8,501
+ 8.97%
Trail
1,778
1,832
+ 3.04%
Tourism
9,234
9,063
- 1.85%
Source: ANCMA / Ministry of Transport

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by Bike Europe last update:28 Nov 2008

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