article

<b>Austria 2005:</b> Not too bad

Sales & Trends

MAARSSEN, the Netherlands – Rain in spring plus a sluggish economy made the Austrian 2005 bicycle season start with losses. But a long, dry and sunny summer brought the year as a whole back in balance. Compared with 2004 sales were down 2.6% to a total of an estimated 375,000 units. Austrian Bicycle Production, Import […]

<b>Austria 2005:</b> Not too bad

MAARSSEN, the Netherlands – Rain in spring plus a sluggish economy made the Austrian 2005 bicycle season start with losses. But a long, dry and sunny summer brought the year as a whole back in balance. Compared with 2004 sales were down 2.6% to a total of an estimated 375,000 units.

Austrian Bicycle Production, Import and Export (in units)

 
2004
2005
Home production    
145,000*
140,000*
– Export
95,000*
95,000*
+ Import
428,000**
330,000*
= Domestic Delivery
385,000
375,000

* Numbers based on estimates.
** Import number included some pre-deliveries for 2005.
Source: Statistik Austria/EUROSTAT/Thalinger/Bike Europe estimates

According to Helge Fellner, marketing director of Shimano distributor Thalinger Lange GmbH, the number of 375,000 units sold and the home production of 140,000 units are the only reliable figures available. According to the latest statistics Austria’s bicycle home production reached 140,000 units (compared with 2004: minus 3.5%). Austria’s home production 2004 (145,000 units) was the highest of the past 17 years.

Import & Export

Last year the import and export figures from Statistik Austria/Eurostat included mistakes that have not been solved yet. The mentioned number of 96,000 exported and 402,000 imported bicycles would bring the formula ‘home production minus exports plus imports’ to a domestic delivery of 446,000 units. This number is way to high. Therefore we have done our own calculation after consulting several industry people.

The estimated home production of 145,000 units and domestic deliveries of 375,000 units indicate that the export numbers should be about the same as last year (= 95,000 units) the gap in between would be a package of 330,000 imported bicycles. This estimate seems to be realistic. The export figures are mainly those of market leader KTM Fahrrad GmbH plus several smaller high-end producers like Simplon.

IBD’s keep market shares

With an estimated market share of 58% for the sporting goods distribution channel (including big players like Intersport-Austria/Sports Experts, Hervis, Sport 2000, Giga Sport) they keep pole position on Austria’s market for complete bicycles. IBD’s kept their 27% share and the mass merchants channel is calculated at 15%. Figures on the value of the bikes sold are not available. But it is plausible that the value share of the IBD’s has increased, because the IBD’s took the better part of the high-end sales.

Carbon roadbikes were a hit. For 2006 the Austrian bikeworld is positive on this ongoing trend. The carbon hype is gradually coming down to (upper) mid-range price points. The economic atmosphere is better than before, Austrian consumers are willing to spend. By the way, the spring sales 2006 were next to nothing as a result of the snow-packed winter and wet Spring in the Alps. Helge Fellner: “It only can get better”. According to Statistik Austria bicycle sales by categories were: 28” trekking bikes (45%), 26” mountainbikes (27%), children’s and youth bikes (15%), city bikes (10%), and last but not least road racers (3%).

Austrian PTW Market: Booming Mobility Category

Good news from the Austrian PTW market: The under- 50 cc ‘mobility category’ is booming. 2005 sales reached a double digit plus of 27.7% up to a total of 27,728 units, compared with 2004. And while the 50 to 125cc category also plussed 5.8% up to 3,394 units, the big bikes experienced a slight 2.5% drop down to 10,964 units. All in all, 42,086 powered two wheelers were sold in 2005 (plus 16.4%).

The figures mentioned above are supplied by the Austrian motorcycle importers’ and producers’ association Arge-Zweirad. They differ from those given out by Eurotaxglass’s Österreich GmbH Automotive Business Intelligence. While the gap in numbers of the <50cc category is very small (65 units difference), the difference for the >125 cc category is no less than 2,822 units: according to Eurotax a total of 13,786 >125cc units were sold in 2005. We couldn’t figure out where the difference stems from. For the 50 to 125cc category the figures were the same.

The Eurotax information is more specified. They divide the <50cc category in 3,113 mopeds (plus 11.2%), 19,881 scooters (plus 71.5%), 34 what the Germans and Austrians calls ‘mofas’ (motor-fahrrad = motorized bicycle) and 4,765 so-called ‘enduro-mopeds’ (plus 17.1%). It makes clear that the huge 2005 increase of 27.7% is in scooters.

Mobility demand

Eurotax also gives the number of scooters in the 50 to 125cc category. 2005 sales increased – compared with 2004 – a two-digit 21.9% up to a total of 2,764 units. Note that this increase is the largest within this category (subdivided in 13 types such as scooter, naked bike, chopper/cruiser, tourer, enduro etc.). Karin Munk, spokeswoman for Arge-Zweirad, explains that the sales jump of the <50 category is not only rooted alone in the new regulation that permits 15-year-olds to get their license (valid since April 2005): “It is also pushed by the mobility demand of young and old people who want to be independent from urban stop-and-go traffic and parking problems.”

Moreover, politicians are supporting this boom. In Vienna for example two-wheelers are allowed to use the bus lane. “This step indicates that local governments is supporting two wheelers as an alternative mobility product within our urban city traffic,” says Munk. Therefore Arge- Zweirad is forecasting further growth, especially in the sub-50cc mobility category. The scooter hype will give an extra boost, also to the 50 to 125cc category.

Austrian PTW sales 2004/2005 (in units)

 
2004
2005
< 50cc category
21,711 
27,728
>50 – 125 category
3,209
3,394
over 125cc category
11,248*
10,964
Total
36,168
42,086

* Numbers based on estimates.
Source: ARGE-Zweirad/Eurotax/Statistik Austria

Comment on this article