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<b>Poland 2006:</b> Bike Sales: Disaster!

Sales & Trends

WARSAW, Poland – If 2005 could be described as disastrous for the Polish domestic bicycle market, 2006 was almost the same, or maybe even worse. Hard winter and sub-zero temperatures during the springtime of 2006 (till April), let the bike sales remain far from satisfactory. The incredibly hot summer was better for sales of air […]

WARSAW, Poland – If 2005 could be described as disastrous for the Polish domestic bicycle market, 2006 was almost the same, or maybe even worse. Hard winter and sub-zero temperatures during the springtime of 2006 (till April), let the bike sales remain far from satisfactory. The incredibly hot summer was better for sales of air conditioners, but not for bikes. Even the long, warm autumn did not trigger a miracle and there was no noticeable revival of the cycle trade.

Polish bike market 2006 (x 1,000 in units)

 
Jan.
Feb.
Mar.
Apr.
May
June
July
Aug.
Sept.
Total
Production
134
138
163
132
143
118
75,3
39,4
59,4
1,002
Import
26,1
31,8
41,5
48,1
68,1
17,1
19,3
6,6
5
265,6
Export
76,9
90,3
183,10
134,1
120,5
84,9
68,9
48,7
66,6
873,8
Sales
35
83,2
151
212
157
96
44,5
24
11,7
814,4

Source: GUS, Ministry of Economy

Domestic sales

Polish retailers sold 844,000 bikes, which is almost the same number as in 2005 (839,600). It was a far cry from the 2004 figure of 1,171,000 bikes, which was also far from a record, but a realistic average. In the history of the modern (i.e. free-market) Polish bike trade there was only one year worse than 2004: with 818 000, 1998 was an all-time low after the collapse of the Romet state bicycle manufacturer and a universal shortage of supplies.

Results of the last year sales are hard to compare with the-best-in-the-history year 1995 (1,415,000 bikes sold). The year 2006 began with a stock of 859,700 units. 810,500 thereof were a legacy of 2005 (producers: 302,000, importers: 196,300, wholesalers and dealers: 312,200). The stocks were in the same order of those at the end of 2005.

The largest monthly stock total during the year (apart from the January leftovers), was 728,400 units in March. That is including the finished products at the manufacturer’s warehouses (284 300 units) importers (175,300) and wholesalers/dealers (268,800). (comparing with 848,000 in March 2005).

Production

Production in 2006 closed at 1.280,000 units (till September 1,002,100 units). Comparing with 2005 when 1,555,400 bikes made, this is quite a drop. The largest Polish manufacturer and market leader is Kross, which covers over 40% of the domestic market. Kross is also strong in export, especially to Germany and UK, but also to France and Scandinavia, Benelux, Switzerland, US, Canada and the former Soviet Union countries.

In 2005 Kross established trade offices in Germany and Russia. In 2006 the situation with the German representative of Kross (who also has an agreement with Schwinn and Mongoose) has encountered some changes – an official statement has been promised.

Other Polish manufacturers share the remaining 60% of the market. There is well-known Arkus, but also rapidly growing IB from Bialy Dunajec, Jan Zasada BEH and Unibike.

Import

Import in 2006 shrunk – it reached a total value of $ 27,3 million over 265,600 units. Comparing with the 2005 figure of 391,218 the difference is substantial, and even worse when comparing the  587,908 units of 2004.

Those home production numbers in themselves are not a symptom of a huge decrease of the market –local manufacturers are moving towards the high end specifications, and more middle and low-end bikes are being imported. The largest supplier of Poland is Taiwan (89,136 units), next in volume is China (88,060), Vietnam did only 458 units, and bikes from Malaysia increased (51,112 vs. 13 535 in 2005). The average imported bike is more expensive than in 2005 – price per unit was US $ 102,9, comparing to US $ 75,07 in 2005.

The cheapest bikes are Malaysian – US $ 30.11 per unit, their price has halved comparing to US $ 67.03 in 2005. Price (and quality) of the Chinese bikes increased: they now cost $ 64.66 which is almost three times more than in 2005 ($ 25.07). Most expensive bikes came from USA (US $ 748.15), although probably made in the Far East, and from Germany (US $ 282.86). Poland imported some bikes from the Netherlands, but with an average price of US $ 97.39 these were far from representative of what the Dutch industry has to offer.

A Taiwanese bike in 2006 costs US $ 154.80, Italian bikes – US $ 108.75, that’s also low-end: no Colnago’s, Pinarello’s and Williers. There was a huge, more than 50% decrease of import from China: 88,100 units in 2006 comparing to 209,241 units in 2005 (and 523,781 in 2004). Import from Taiwan was similar to the previous year – 89,100 vs. 80,095 in 2005. There also was huge decrease of import from Vietnam – almost 500 units comparing to 50,955 units imported in 2005. Obviously, somebody has moved his interest from Vietnam to Malaysia.

Import from USA decreased to 944 units (from 1541 in 2005) – less Cannondales, Treks and Specializeds. Import from Netherlands showed a significant drop – 312 bikes, comparing with 1,159 in 2005. Both are no more than a handful – there is not a serious and regular bike export from Holland to Poland. Italy lost its position, which held in 2005 – 1,860 bikes imported, comparing with 2,697 units in 2005.

Export

Poland exported bikes worth $ 87.1 mn. This figure represents 873,800 units, which is 81.6% of the 2005 figure (1,082,470 units). Main recipient for Polish bikes is Germany with 287,500 units (but almost halved from 439,298 units in 2005). France is second with 288,200 (comparing with 376,829 bikes in 2005). A similar drop is visible with export to the Netherlands – 48,500 in 2006, vs. 76,071 units in 2005. Export to the UK increased from 60,842 in 2005 to 93 800 in 2006. It is still far from the 63,605 of 2004, but the tendency is promising. Switzerland took 5,383 Polish bikes. Other export countries took a total of 19.8%.

The average price per exported bike was US $ 99.63. Most expensive bikes were sold to the Netherlands (US $ 179.09), a major retail chain has their private label bikes assembled in Poland to Dutch specifications). A little cheaper Polish bike went to Switzerland (US $ 147.56) and to Denmark (US $ 117.30).

The cheapest bikes were exported to the UK (US $ 71.94 per unit) – times of the British ‘classic roadster in full trim –lighting, mudguards, chainguard- seem definitely over. The UK sources its ‘full-dress’ bicycles mainly in Asia: Vietnam, Bangladesh. Even bikes exported to the Lithuania were more expensive than those destined for the UK (US $ 96.15), slightly less expensive were Polish bikes for Sweden (US $ 88.91) and France (US $ 76.87). Value of Polish bicycles export in 2006 reached US $ 87,100,000, comparing to US $ 106,636,242 in 2005.

Poland import

 
2005
2006
China
209,241
88,060
Taiwan
80,095
89,136
Germany
2,084
3,300
Vietnam
50,955
458
Italy
2,697
1,860
USA
1,541
944
Netherlands
1,159
312
France
2,292
4,569
Switzerland
1,080
223
Malaysia
13,535
51,112
Total
391,218
265,600

Source: GUS, Ministry of Economy

 Poland Export

 
2005
2006
Germany
439,298
873,800
Netherlands
76,071
48,479
France
376,829
288,159
Switzerland
6,878
5,383
United Kingdom
60,842
93,820
Denmark
35,441
31,981
Sweden
8,501
28,109
Lithuania
5,952
5,749
Total
1,082,470
873,800

Source: GUS, Ministry of Economy

 

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