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European 2009 Bike Sales Stays Strong; in US Down Hard

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With each report that comes in on 2009 bike sales in Europe the huge difference with whats happening at the other side of the Atlantic becomes more evident. With (dealer) sales in EUs biggest markets staying strong; the US market tumbles by

European 2009 Bike Sales Stays Strong; in US Down Hard

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands –With each report that comes in on 2009 bike sales in Europe the huge difference with what’s happening at the other side of the Atlantic becomes more evident. With (dealer) sales in EU’s biggest markets staying strong; the US market tumbles by over 15% in the first three quarters of this year.

Bicycle import in the United States dropped to the lowest level in 11 years, according to a recent survey by the Gluskin Townley Group LLC. The total number of bicycles imported with all wheel sizes decreased by 15.4%, or 2,118,790 less units to a total of close to 11.7 million.

What could be more worrying for the US bike operators is the fact that the number of imported bikes for adults dropped even more during the named period. From 20-inch wheel size up that number tumbled by 17.9%, or 1,800,582 units compared to the same period of 2008; from over 10 million bikes to 8.2 million.

The import statistics also reveal a ray of hope; 27-inch & 700c wheeled bicycles continue to outperform all other segments of the US bike market. It is the only category that scores a 10.5% increase in the number of units imported and a 15.5% plus in value. Hopeful is also the fact that average FOB unit value for all bikes imported increased by 5.3% to US$ 71.21.

The bike business in Europe scores notable better results. Despite the economic crisis reports from Europe’s biggest markets indicate that in particular sales at dealers as well as at specialized retail chains like Halfords stays strong. For Germany the dealer association VSF recently announced that high-end bike sales thrived with double-digit growth figures. 77% of the VSF members/dealers reported an increase in sales; half of them even claimed growth of 11% in the first 3 quarters of 2009.

In Europe’s number two bike market in terms of value – The Netherlands – a staggering 41% more e-Bikes were sold in the first half of the year. A total of 105,000 electric bicycles were sold; 75,000 through bike dealers and 30,000 via retail chains like Halfords, supermarkets and do-it-yourself stores. In the Netherlands the total earnings related to bike sales increased 3.2% during the first six months of the year to € 546 million. In units sales increased by 5.4% to 778.888 bicycles.

In the UK the Association of Cycle Traders reports that during the first eight months of 2009 year to date sales growth is 4.6% compared to the same period of 2008. Also UK’s biggest bike seller Halfords is reporting a (relatively) strong first three quarters of 2009. Revenues are up 3.8% to GBP 425.1 million (€ 420 mn). The retail chain in automotive and bike products states that: “Our market-leading core product areas, like car maintenance, performed well in the second quarter increasing market share and our leisure categories, of cycling and camping products exceeded our expectations.”

9-Month YTD Total U.S. Bicycle Imports 2009 vs 2008

 
Total Units
Total FOB Value US$
Average FOB Unit Value US$
9-Month YTD 2009
11,691,308
$832,537,414
$71.21
9-Month YTD 2008
13,810,098
$935,038,705
$67.71
Variance
-2,118,790
-$102,501,291
$3.50
Variance %
-15.3%
-11.0%
5.2%

Source: US Department of Commerce bicycle import data & Gluskey Townley Group analysis

9-Month YTD U.S. Bicycle Imports 2009 vs 2008: 20-Inch Wheel & Larger 

 
Total Units
Total FOB Value US$
Average FOB Unit Value US$
9-Month YTD 2009
8,227,408
740,575,346
$90.01
9-Month YTD 2008
10,027,990
833,693,323
$83.14
Variance
-1,800,582
-93,117,977
$6.88
Variance %
-18.0%
-11.2%
8.3%

Source: US Department of Commerce bicycle import data & Gluskey Townley Group analysis

 

 

 

 

 

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