article

<b>Italy 2005:</b> Big Increase in Demand for Bikes

Sales & Trends

MAARSSEN, the Netherlands – Demand for bicycles grew strongly in Italy again last year. Domestic consumption rose by 12%, but unfortunately this did not stimulate bike production. Instead the import of complete bicycles sky rocketed by no less than 30.1%. According to the statistics of the ANCMA (the National Association for the Bicycle and Motorcycle […]

<b>Italy 2005:</b> Big Increase in Demand for Bikes

MAARSSEN, the Netherlands – Demand for bicycles grew strongly in Italy again last year. Domestic consumption rose by 12%, but unfortunately this did not stimulate bike production. Instead the import of complete bicycles sky rocketed by no less than 30.1%.

According to the statistics of the ANCMA (the National Association for the Bicycle and Motorcycle Industry) the Italian industry produced a total of 2,400,000 bicycles, a substantial decrease of 7.7% on the total for 2004. Bicycle exports also lost ground: 13.6% down to 1,343,286, while the Market Report Italy import of complete bicycles increased to 820,736 units; a dangerous development.

Italian Bicycle Market 1999 – 2005 (in units)

 
Production
Export
Import
Domestic Consumption
1999
3,300,000
2,086,087
223,988
1,437,901
2000
3,250,000
1,752,345
224,450
1,722,105
2001
2,650,000
1,411,791
445,819
1,684,028
2002
2,350,000
1,419,193
453,951
1,384,758
2003
2,550,000
1,588,963
471,550
1,432,587
2004
2,600,000
1,554,246
631,036
1,676,790
2005
2,400,000
1,343,286
820,736
1,877,450

Source: ANCMA

Italian Bicycle Production by Category/2005

MTB
35%
City bike
18%
Kids bike
43%
Road bike
4%

Source: ANCMA

The total situation in the bicycle market is “Sweet & Sour” in Italy. The domestic market grew to a very healthy “sweet” of 1,877,450 bicycles sold. But this did not help the Italian bicycle industry. The industry produced a total of just 2,400,000 bicycles, a very “sour” decrease of 7.7% on the total for 2004 (2,600,000 units). But when we look at the figures preceding ’04 (see table), the 2,400,000 units might be called on a par. 2005 was a peak year. Main reason is not just the slip in numbers exported: a total of 1,343,286 bikes crossed the Italian borders; compared to the 2004 total of 1,554,246 bikes, this resulted in an export minus of a huge 13.6%, a negative development. The other even more worrying reason is the increase of bicycles imported by 30.1% to 820,736 units. Although there is strong competition in the EU bike markets, the average value of the exported Italian bicycles went up very strongly by 15.9% to € 93.48 (2004: € 80.66 and 2003: € 81.57).

Production, Consumption

The unexpected boom in the domestic demand did not give a boost to the production of bicycles in Italy. After many years of decline, the Italian industry recorded a healthy increase to 2,600,000 units in 2004. But it went down to 2,400,000 in 2005. Domestic consumption recovered as well since 2002, after decades of down-turn. Consumption in the following years stayed high in Italy. Deliveries of complete bikes to the various distribution channels totaled 1,877,450 units in 2005 which is a nice 12% up on the 2004 total of 1,676,790 bicycles.

The usage of the Mountain bike as a sport toy is reflected in the figures for the production per category. The 2005 figures show that the share of MTB’s in the production of Italian makers grew to 35%.  City bikes (including Hybrid, Trekking, Comfort models) have a low 18% share in the production. The for the Italian industry vital (due to the high average value) road racing bikes had a decrease in production share to 4%. Children’s bikes have increased to 43%.

The downside of the consumption success was the astonishing increase in the import of bicycles. In fact it continued to increase but with a staggering 30.1% to 820,736 units (up from 631,036 bicycles). Expectations were that the import would return to its usual level of about 225,000 units in 2000; but instead it continued to grow and the imports almost quadrupled by 2005. But this trend seems to get even worse.

The Italian situation is the strong proof that the actual anti-dumping duties for import of complete bicycles from China and Vietnam are not high enough. The import prices are so low that importers continue to bring them into the country, even in greater numbers. This is also reflected in the continuing drop in the average price of imported bicycles. This price slipped again; this time 1.4% to € 84.26 compared to 2004 (was € 85.47 in 2004 and even € 173.67 in 2000). These are troubled times, as the new anti-dumping measures don’t seem to be enough to protect the Italian bicycle industry. It is now very important to have a stronger control on all unfair practices like under-invoicing, importing bikes made in another country as written on the documents, etc. This job has to be taken seriously by the different European entities.

Parts and Components

With companies like Campagnolo, Gruppo and all the renowned saddle makers Italy is one of few countries in Europe that still has a big number of component makers. But in 2005 that situation started to change. The European ISTAT statistics show a very negative trend in the export value of Italian made components of 7.5% to € 369.93 million (from € 400.12 million) and also an enormous decrease of 16.9% in the exported quantities.

The well known Italian saddles recorded a stable export in 2005 with a plus of 1% in value to € 68.3 million but a huge drop of 10% in quantity. In view of this development the new and much discussed request of the ESMA (The European Saddle Manufactures Association) for antidumping duties at the European Commission is a logical counter. This issue sparked discussion as it could be the start of a series of antidumping applications for many types of products.

The statistics do also show a collapse in the export of Italian rims by 33.6% to € 8.5 million (from € 12.8 millions) and of 46.4% in quantities. These figures do also reflect the financial difficulties of Vuelta during the last winter. Apparently Vuelta has recovered by now and we hope to see this in the 2006 results.

Another negative development is in the export of chain-wheel sets and parts. The statistics recorded for these show a minus of 36% to € 16.49 millions (from € 25.73). These figures mainly represent the closing down of the Shimano production line in Italy. The records also show a decrease in the export of gear groups; minus 9.6% in value to €19.8 million but a plus 4% in quantities. These latter figures show a trend to lower price products. The export of Italian made forks also decreased in 2005; minus 20% in value to € 12 million but again here their quantity increased by 4.3%.

Helmets

Italian helmet production is also well known worldwide. Rather stable market conditions used to exist, but now globalization is taking its hard toll. This fact is valid mainly for the low-tech/low-cost helmets. Production of Italian made helmets plummeted in 2005, to 2.54 million units; 8.06% down on the 2004 total (2.77 millions in 2004).

The reason was the decrease of exported helmets down 9.46% to 1.51 million units (from 1.67 million units in 2004); the Italian home market dropped considerably as well: 5.92% to a total of 1.03 million units (from 1.09 million). But actually the European market for Italian producers is completely different as Gianluca Solani helmet expert from the ANCMA explains: “The market for the remaining Italian suppliers is in reality growing”.

This information is based on fact that Italian suppliers making budget products have closed their doors last year, but the main Italian suppliers produce high-tech products; and they are very healthy. “They have increased their supply in Italy with some 11% and in the export with some 4.5%. All together a total increase of around 7%”, calculates Mr. Solani, and all this in a market which is shrinking by almost 7.7% in total”.

The low-price market has been taken over by imported helmets with products sold by the mass-markets. While IBD’s and users of quality PTW’s are interested in high quality products. “We as an industry are now working on the production of high quality helmets since it is not economically feasible to produce low-quality helmets in Europe. When someone purchases a beautiful new expensive motorbike he or she also likes to purchase a new high-end helmet with features and colours suiting his new vehicle” concluded Gianluca Solani.

ANCMA

With national consumption of bicycles up 12% in 2005, the Italian industry association ANCMA could be satisfied. This was partly archived by several campaigns started in 2003. But the decrease of domestic production by 13.6% is worrying. At the same time the huge increase in the import of bicycles is not helping. The question now is how we can assure that the application of anti-dumping duties will not be by-passed. The European authorities need to get into action in this area very soon.

PTW Market in Italy: 2005 Was a Very Good Year

In view of the general market situation it was a good year for PTW’s in Italy in 2005. The total amount of Powered Two-Wheelers sold was 548,541 units just 0.96% less than the exceptionally good results of 2004 (553,856 units). The Italian market for over 50cc motorbikes and scooters arrived to 421,080 units, just a mere 0.1% less than that record year of 2004. Once again over 50cc motorbikes hit a new record with 149,536 registrations e.i. +1.37%. And again the 50cc scooters lost some market share, but this time only -3.71% which means a great result in relation to the large losses of the previous years.

The Italian market result for the twelve months of 2005 is a good one; something that was not expected at the beginning of the year. Total registrations of over 50cc PTW’s remain more or less stable at 421,000 but the driving force was the motorbike segment with an increase of 1.37%, which more or less equalizes the lost of 0.89% scooter registrations. The under 50cc market made a wonderful recovery, resulting in 127,461 small scooters delivered to the dealers in 2005. Although it represents a decrease of 3.71%, it is a huge improvement in relation to the previous years. From the record times in 1998 when 685,692 small PTW’s were delivered, till today a lot has happened.

Motorbikes

The Italian market for motorbikes continues to increase even after the  record year 2004 when 147,512 bikes were registered. Volume increased to 149,536 motorbikes in 2005. Interesting is the trend towards engines with larger capacities. While the 600cc class declined 8.58% to 33,754 units, the 750cc bikes grew 9.31% to 38,591 registrations. The same trend was recorded in the biggest capacities. While the 1000cc segment went down by 13.75% (to 31,592 units) at the same time the over 1000cc motorbikes went up by 31.31% to 20,351 registrations. It seems that the excellent results of the Italian road racers in the World Championships continue to play a positive role in the motorbike market in Italy.

The existing trend towards ‘Naked’ motorbikes continued as well, with a total of 57,622 registrations during 2005. But a new trend seems to be the “Supermotard” class. Although this segment grew to only 7,801 units it recorded a staggering +121% increase. “Street Enduros” recorded a big increase of roughly 14% to 27,833 registrations. These three designs have in common that they are much easier to ride and are very user friendly. Although “Supersport” motorbikes lost some of their popularity with 32,191 registrations (around -15%) it continues to be the second biggest segment.

Without any doubt the good results of smart racer Valentino Rossi in the World Championships helps the motorbike market in Italy to positive results. Yamaha in particular should be happy with  the “Naked” Yamaha FZ6 (10,834 from 6,323 units) in 5th place within all PTW registrations; while the direct competitor Honda Hornet 600 (8,217 from 9,715 units) lost some market share and went down to the 9th position.

Maxi and Mega Scooters

Over 50cc scooters managed to record just 0.9% less than 2004 but at a very high level (271,544 from 273,977 units). But there are some important details to look at:

  • The Italian Post Office placed a large order of some 25,000 Piaggio Liberty-125 scooters. The first lot of some 5,500 bikes were registered in December 2005. Without these registrations the final result for over 50cc scooters would have been negative at roughly -3%.
  • The new trend is now towards the 250cc scooters; which recorded a roaring 33% increase in registrations in 2005 (55,183 from 41,426 registrations). The reason for this trend is not only the success of the Piaggio Beverly 250 (19,912 units) but the entry into the 250cc segment of new attractive scooters such as the Yamaha X-Max, Honda Forza, Kymco Xciting-250, Malaguti Password-250. The new 250cc models are offering less power but similar features and comfort as the 500cc but at a much lower price.
    Although the 500cc segment lost a lot in favour of the 250cc class, it remained at a high level of 63,110 registrations (from 70,846 in 2004). The same can be said of the 200cc segment; which concluded the year with 80,120 scooters (from 92,526 units).

Interesting fact is also that Taiwanese Kymco has become a mainstream supplier of over 50cc scooters.

50cc

For the first time the 50cc scooter market managed to get an acceptable result since 1999. Although the small scooter segment recorded a minus 3.71% to 127,461 deliveries to dealers (from 132,367 units) it was a happy one. In fact since 1998 (685,692 units delivered) the small scooter class has recorded regular losses.

This success is based on the incentives of the “Ministry for the Environment” giving € 250.00 for the purchase of environmental friendly small scooters compiling with EURO-2 specs (with around 90% less emissions). The total incentives released by the government are for 100,000 PTWs; roughly 80% of it was used within the June-Dec 2005 period.

In view of the fact that there are a lot of small scooters which do not compile with any EURO regulations in Italy (60% of the small scooters on the road; around 3 million vehicles) the actual incentives are very welcome.

The National Industry

It is true that the Italian market had a good year in 2005, but the same cannot be said about the national industry. The registration of Italian scooters over 50cc was in fact 3.13% lower (171,444 units) while 3.2% more imported scooters were registered (100,100 pieces) in 2005. While imported motorbikes reached a plus 7.63% (109,480 registrations) Italian made motorbike registrations went down by no less than 12.52% to 40,056 PTW’s.

Surely one of the reasons was the problem of Aprilia which had to be taken over by Piaggio (her main creditor) at the end of 2004. Provably it will take some time till the new owner manages to get the production and market awareness at the desired level (see article on Aprila in scooter section).

The Italian industry scored OK in the export of PTW. Although quantities were lower by -7.7% (for under 50cc) and -5% (for over 50cc), values increased by no less than 2.3% (for under 50cc) and 8.2% (for over 50cc). The Italian production as such increased with 17.14% (under 50cc PTWs) and 35.53% (over 50cc). A very healthy situation for the Italian industry. Fact is that it is getting more and more difficult to move by car within the crowded Italian cities, and this reality will help the total PTW market at least in the near future.

Italian Scooter & Motorcycle Market (in units)

 
2002
2003
2004
2005
change
<50cc mopeds, scooters
178,650
161,893
132,367
127,461
-3.71%
>50cc scooters
262,976
276,542
273,977
271,544
-0.89%
>50cc motorcycles
129,260
130,585
147,512
149,536
+1.37%
Total
570,886
569,020
553,856
548,541
-0.96%

Source: ANCMA / Ministry of Transport

Italian >50cc Scooter Segments (in units)

 
2004
2005
change
till 125cc
63,506
68,265
+7.49%
126/200cc
92,526
80,120
-13.41%
201/250cc
41,426 
55,183
+33.21%
251/500cc
70,846
63,110
-10.92%
501/600cc
1,972
1,338
-32.15%
> 600cc
3,701
3,528
-4.67%

Source: ANCMA / Ministry of Transport

 Italian >50cc Motorcycle Segments (in units)

 
2004
2005
change
51/125cc
8,638
9,907
+14.69%
126/200cc
509
1,050
+106.29%
201/250cc
4,272
4,336
+1.50%
251/500cc
9,740
9,955
+2.21%
501/600cc
36,923
33,754
-8.58%
601/750cc
35,305
38,591
+9.31%
751/1000cc
36,627
31,592
-13.75%
>1000cc
15,498
20,351
+31.31%

Source: ANCMA / Ministry of Transport

 

Comment on this article