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10th Eurobike Birthday Not Exactly Festive

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FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (September 5) – This year’s jubilee edition of the Eurobike show presented hardly any cause for celebration. Also the usual upbeat atmosphere was missing at the 10th edition of the Southern German trade fair. Why the event lacked its usual spirit this year, isn’t hard to tell. First of all, the number of […]

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (September 5) – This year’s jubilee edition of the Eurobike show presented hardly any cause for celebration. Also the usual upbeat atmosphere was missing at the 10th edition of the Southern German trade fair. Why the event lacked its usual spirit this year, isn’t hard to tell. First of all, the number of trade visitors was noticeably smaller during the first two days of the four-day show. Secondly, the prevailing mood was depressed because a 30% drop in Mountainbike sales in Europe is certainly cause for alarm. After all, it was the Mountainbike that put the Eurobike Show on the map in the European bicycle industry. Now that sales in Europe have peaked and not even inexpensive full suspension models have been able to cushion the blow, the 10th Eurobike was confronted with the consequences. The most conspicuous development was the absence of faithful, important Eurobike participants such as Giant, Cannondale and Shimano. Incidentally, the Mountainbike was not the only segment hit hard as far as decreasing sales are concerned. Virtually every other sector experienced serious drops. For starters, consider the situation in Germany, Europe’s largest bicycle market. During the first half of 2001, sales of new bicycles dropped by 13%. A meeting among media and industry insiders on the eve of the opening of the Eurobike show revealed that German dealers are struggling with large inventories.
Within the second largest bicycle market in Europe, the situation is even worse. In Italy, the number of bicycles delivered by manufacturers and importers during the first six months of the year dropped by a hefty 20%. According to Charles Hancock of Atala, some improvement has followed on the heels of the disastrous first half of the year. He explained that, after a recovery in July, sales in August were actually outstanding, which somewhat compensated for the losses incurred in the beginning of the year. The same scenario played out in another extremely important European market, namely, the Netherlands. Batavus and Be-One (Accell Group) commercial director Rob Beset reported that bicycle sales in the Netherlands this year dropped by 12% in the first seven months. These figures relate to customer sales. According to the results of a (GfK) study to measure dealer sales, the drop in turnover through July 2001 amounted to 8% compared to the same period last year. The situation improved in August, thanks mainly to good weather. Estimates indicate that the revived sales during August helped limit the damage related to bicycle sales in the Netherlands for the first eight months in the year to a decline of 9%. The damage in turnover comes out to about -4%, according to Beset. The figures mentioned illustrate the overall bicycle sales in the three most important European markets. Clearly, certain segments in the market were harder hit than others. The Mountainbike segment bore the brunt of the damage. Jan Derksen, President of Giant Europe, estimates the blow at 30% for all of Europe. Other Mountainbike market experts confirm this figure. A complete report about this year’s Eurobike Show including the consequences of the drop in bike sales like the first round of dismissals taking place at Bianchi, will be published in Bike Europe’s September edition. (JO)

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