ATHENS, Greece – Bicycle business is still growing in the most south eastern part of the European Union. Sales in Greece are at an all times high and the interest in bikes is bigger than ever. This was clearly shown by the masses that visited the Athens Bike Festival which took place last weekend; from 16-18 September.
Greece is facing a huge crisis which is difficult to solve, but there is a bright light in these hard times – the bicycle industry. The bicycle market is still growing substantially. In a certain way the financial crisis is fueling the demand for bicycles as they present a reasonably cheep and fast method of commuting. However in Greece it is much more than that. Bikes are now fashionable and a way of life.
Athens Bike Festival is the largest bicycle expo in the Balkan region, organized by Mbike magazine and again successful with 62 exhibitors showing about 260 brands, sideshows and over 25,000 visitors in three days. Every day the show floor was packed up to 9.30 pm when the show was supposed to close.
The festival is a reflection of the current situation on the bicycle market which is experiencing growth. According to industry insiders the market will grow to approximately 370,000 units in 2011; an increase of 20 % compared to last year. At the same time the average price slipped down to nearly 200 euro. The average price of a bicycle sold at IBDs is roughly about 400 euro.
The most important sales area is greater Athens with 5.5 million inhabitants. The city is witnessing a huge rise in new bike stores. More than ten new shops are opened every month mainly due to the growing availability of floor space of closed businesses.
Distributors are recording interest in trekking as well as city and mountain bikes. E-bikes have been seen all around the festival, but for now they are still not in high demand due to the high price and the Greek’s passion for scooters.