WARSAW, Poland - Official data, produced by the Polish General Bureau for Statistics (GUS) show a significant drop in the market, compared to 2009. In contrast, the Polish Cycle Association (PCA) claims that the source of official data coming out of thin air….
The question of accuracy was a main topic at several meetings of the Polish Cycle Association which was founded beginning last year. Market data produced by the General Bureau of Statistics is, according to the cycling industry group, too low and does not reflect the real condition of the market. The association claims that the data for 2009 is also too low, especially retail sales in April, but data for April 2010 seems to be too high. The organisation also claims that data produced by General Bureau for Statistics (GUS) is being conjured out of thin air.
Data regarding production is also questioned by the group. PCA claims that small assembly plants estimated at supplying some 7 – 15% of the total production volume, is missing in the GUS statistics. This is caused by the small number of the employees of such companies. Because of that they are not tracked by the statistics bureau which is a common situation that applies to numerous EU countries.
Import data seems to have some flaws too; says the Polish Cycle Association. Imports are tracked by the EU’s statistical bureau Eurostat. The data for Poland for the so called inter-EU supplies (meaning the import from one EU member state to another), made in small quantities, done by small enterprises (shops or wholesalers), is not reported – according to the regulations. So, if Kelly’s, Trek or Specialized, or another supplier delivers to shops directly, those quantities do not appear in the statistics. The limit value is around 500 bicycles per year, depending on the value described by regulations and average price of the bicycle, calculated for import from those countries. None, or almost none of the importers of the listed brands are buying that many in a span of the year, so there is no duty to report it to GUS and so they do not appear in the import stats.
Despite these difficulties and obvious differences the available data for for 2009 and 2010 should be compared in order to get some background on the state of the Polish bike market last year. According to the GUS data, bicycle sales for January - September 2010 stood at 537,800 units, compared to 474,200 units in 2009. It shows a significant increase of 13.4%. The Polish Cycle Association places serious doubts at these figures.
Production in 2010, according to the General Bureau of Statistics, equals 443,000 bicycles, which is a massive drop, comparing to 837,600 in 2009. According to the Ministry of Economy, production of bikes in 2010 was 760,100, while in year 2009 868,000 units have been produced. Shocking is the almost 330,000 units difference between the data of General Bureau of Statistics (443,000) and Ministry of Economy (760,000). It must be a serious methodological flaw in one or another case. In response, the Polish Cycle Association seems to be close to making the decision that they need to track the market for compiling their own, more accurate statistics.
Imports are on a similar level, with a slight increase – 328,726 in 2010 compared to 327,071 in 2009. The biggest number of imported bikes is, no surprise, from Taiwan (127,666 units, for US$ 14,681.038), second place is Malaysia (39,831 bikes), followed by China (37,706) and India (34,794). In terms of value, Germany with US$ 4,846,863 is in second place, followed by China (US$ 4,846,863). Values of import from USA (US$ 2,199,679) Indonesia (US$ 2,137,275) and Netherlands (US$ 2,125,511) are very similar. The most expensive bikes came from the USA (US$ 888.04 per unit), Slovakia (US$ 397.09 per bike) and from Netherlands (US$ 311.11 a piece).
Bike exports in 2010 dropped 13.2% to 489,866 units, compared to 564,552 bikes exported a year earlier. The biggest number of Polish bikes was exported to Germany (174,026), Netherlands (40,315), Finland (28,635) and Austria (19,614). Value totals cover the countries of biggest export – Germany (US$ 56,150,156), Netherlands (US$ 9,328,286), Austria (US$ 5,499,646) and Finland (US$ 4,729,987). Importers of the most valuable Polish bikes are: Italy (average price per unit US$ 517.42) Czech Republic (US$ 357.70 a piece), Germany (US$ 322.65 per bike) and Austria (US$ 280.39 per unit). The high price of bikes exported to Italy and Czech Republic probably refers to the popularity of road racing in those countries.
Due to the doubts on the government’s statistics the picture of Polish bike market is not clear. In the meantime the private import of second-hand bikes imported from Netherlands (removed by the Dutch Police from parking facilities as abandoned bikes, or bought from cycle workshops) is growing. Bikes are becoming more and more popular. Hopefully it will transfer to bicycle business and with growth a more accurate picture of the industry will emerge.