PARIS, France - The number of bicycles sold dropped below the threshold of 3 million: 2.9 million bicycles were sold on French soil in 2012; a 9% drop over the previous year. All segments were down except e-bikes which sales increased by 15%.
Overall turnover of the 2012 French bike market (including Parts & Accessories) reached €1,275 million; 4% down on the 2011 figure. As said all segments showed declines and to be more precise; race dropped 7%; adult French models down 12%; city bikes minus 4% while MTBs decreased by 11%. Only toy bikes sold at supermarket chains like Carrefour showed a 12% plus.
Average prices up
The average prices for bikes sold in France last year upped slightly; from €265 in 2011 to €278 in 2012. The highest prices were paid for road racers with €1,261. The average price for an electric bike stood at €837, but was up from €810 in 2011.
Smallest decline at IBDs
All distribution channels in France suffered in 2012, but independent bicycle dealers (IBDs) had the smallest decline. Overall dealers saw their sales drop by 2.5%. And because all other channels had bigger drops, the IBD channel upped in market share a bit, with 0.5%. Big retail chains like Décathlon saw their bike and P&A sales drop 4% while the big supermarkets were 10.5% down. The 2012 IBD market share in the total bike sales in units stood at 51.5% and 67% in total revenues.
Electric bicycles were the bright spot on the 2012 French market, despite the fact that sales increased less quickly as many had hoped for. A total number of 46,100 Vélos Assistance Electrique (VAE) were sold in 2012; 15% up on the 40,000 sold in 2011. On the one hand this number contrasts sharply with the 360,000 e-bikes sold in Germany, but on the other hand in France the e-bike sales number multiplied by 11 times in 7 years. A determining factor for future growth is in the fact that currently 77.5% of all e-bikes sold are distributed through dealers that are capable to provide the right after sales service.
At the presentation of the 2012 figures for the French market, Thierry Fournier, President of industry association CNPC, said: "Sales declined in 2012, but obviously cycling is increasing in all segments. For the moment bikes like cars or motorcycles also suffers from the economic crisis. But, I have every reason to believe that we are in a growth industry."
A more detailed French Market Report is in Bike Europe's May edition.