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<b>Norway 2005:</b> Chinese Imports Dominate Bike Market

Sales & Trends

MAARSSEN, The Netherlands – As Norway is not a member of the European Union the market is very open for bikes imported from Asia and from China in particular. With no anti-dumping rates to take into account and even no import duties on bicycles, it is no wonder that this Scandinavian country has no domestic production […]

<b>Norway 2005:</b> Chinese Imports Dominate Bike Market

MAARSSEN, The Netherlands – As Norway is not a member of the European Union the market is very open for bikes imported from Asia and from China in particular. With no anti-dumping rates to take into account and even no import duties on bicycles, it is no wonder that this Scandinavian country has no domestic production what so ever. And with that also no export.

Import is what it is all about and that currently stands at about 450,000 units per year of which over 50% come from China. Also in the distribution of bicycles, Norway is different compared to the other Scandinavian countries.

Major Bike Sellers in Norway*

Company
Units sold
G-sport
60,000
Stians Sports
50,000
DBS (Cycleurope)
50,000
Intersport
35,000
Biltema
10,000
Hard Rocx
< 10,000
Trek
n.a.
Scott
n.a.
Total sales in 2006:
320,000

DBS used to be the Norwegian bike maker like Kildemoes still is for Denmark. It was about the same in size with a yearly production of about 130,000 units. But due to the fact that Norway is not a member of the EU and with that not ‘protected’ with anti-dumping duties from the Chinese competition, owner Cycleurope closed the DBS factory early 2000 and switched to sourcing and production in Denmark.

Major players

That could not prevent DBS from losing its Number 1 position on the Norwegian market. In fact it is estimated that 2006 sales for DBS will come to about 50,000 units and with that the once market leader has dropped to the Number 3 position. Current market leader in bicycles in Norway is the private label brand Diamant. It is owned by a company called Gresvig and sold through sporting goods chain stores G-Sport with a 2006 sales that is expected to end at about 60,000 units.

Runner up in Norway is Stians Sport AS. This company, that this year is celebrating its 30th anniversary, is a joint venture partner with Merida, Taiwan. Stians Sport AS is increasing its market share year by year with its brands Merida, UMF and Specialized. 2006 sales is expected to run up to 50,000 units. Next to Merida, UMF and Specialized, Stians Sport is also the importer for SRAM, Rock Shox, Truvativ, Avid, Northwave, Abus, Jagwire, IRC and Merida Fitness equipment. After the number 3 in Norway DBS, comes Intersport with an estimated 2006 sales of Nakamura bikes of 35,000 units. Other brands each selling somewhat more than 10,000 units this year are: Biltema (low end), Hard Rocx, Trek and Scott.

Total 2006 bike sales in Norway is estimated to run up 320,000 units. On a total population of about 5 million people, one can say that there’s a good interest for bikes in this Scandinavian country. Currently there’s no official trade association that is handling sales statistics for bikes and bike products. However, there’s one in the making which, if things go as planned, will present itself in 2007.

Sporting goods chain stores

The bike business in Norway is in the hands of supermarkets and sporting goods chain stores. There are about one thousand of such sporting goods outlets which are operated by (franchising) companies like Intersport. Combined the supermarket and sporting goods chains control about 85% of the Norwegian bike market. The remaining 15% of the total bike sales is handled by IBDs. However, they are losing market share, in particular in the low end sectors of the market.

Biggest bike seller in Norway is G-Sport followed by Intersport and MS-Sport. But there are also very successful newcomers on the market like ‘Biltema’; a car parts supplier that in only five years managed to grow its bike sales to 35,000 units. Other strong newcomers are Hypermarkets like Smartclub and Europris that focus on extreme low prices (and sometimes quality). These players are trying to take control of the lowest price points – especially in children bikes and low end MTB bikes. IBDs are trying to fight back with lower prices and lower margins. A battle that they cannot win.

Trends

Over 60% of the estimated 320,000 bikes sold this year in Norway are 26" MTB models. The Road segment is increasing and is expected to grow further in 2007. Especially because Mountainbikers are switching over to road bikes or buy them as their Nr. 2 bike. There’s also a trend towards gender specific Mountainbikes and in particular women’s models that are sold in combination with women’s bike wear. Freeride is growing- but not as fast as many would think and/or hope. Finally, sales of 700C Hybrids bikes has rose steadily during the last years and is taking away market share for Mountainbikes.

*Source: estimates by Stians Sport AS

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