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<b>Slovenia 2006:</b> Steady Growth, No More Exports

Sales & Trends

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia – Previously Elan bikes (later Rog) had an overall effect on the bicycle production statistics of Slovenia. Now, almost two years later, it still does. But if they boosted production and consumption in the past, the company’s present effect is negative. Statistics for 2006 show a huge 85% drop in exports.   Total […]

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia – Previously Elan bikes (later Rog) had an overall effect on the bicycle production statistics of Slovenia. Now, almost two years later, it still does. But if they boosted production and consumption in the past, the company’s present effect is negative. Statistics for 2006 show a huge 85% drop in exports.
 
Total 2006 export value was only € 260,000 (or 15 % of 2005 exports) and of course this is the effect of the collapse of Rog. The only home producer left in Slovenia is Cult bikes, who can barely fulfil home demand, and are not yet contemplating exports. The Rog brand and its production equipment was auctioned and bought by Gama (ex distributor for Shimano), but their plans are still very cloudy. The few exports went to neighbouring Yugoslav countries, Austria and Hungary. 

 

Steady growth of the leisure market

Even without exports we can look at the market with a lot of optimism. Figures show a steady growth of the leisure market after the collapse of Elan/Rog. The average price of bikes sold in Slovenia rose, which corresponds with better quality bikes, if not the effect of the Euro.
 
Big non-sports mega stores made quick profits with bicycles a couple of years ago, and their effect was a downward pressure on average prices. In fact, their prices and quality were so low that their cost (poor quality means a lot of warranty expense) was not covered by their profits, and were forced to abandon, or upgrade to a slightly better level of probability.
 
But with a market very similar to 2005 in terms of units and value, the sourcing of the bicycles changed. EU countries have supplied roughly 60% of all imported bicycles – a trend that started in 2005 and is still continuing. The trade with China had grown 18% to 3.809 units, but it is still light years away from the almost 70.000 units imported in 2004. Anti-dumping duties are obviously doing their part here.  

 

Cambodia number 3 supplier

Taiwan is still the no. 1 supplier, but with a 26% fall to 18.247 units it is just a few units ahead of Italy. Cambodia came out of the blue, with absolutely no bicycle trade before, and took third place with almost ten thousand units. At the same time, imports from Vietnam and Philippines lost 65% and 57%.
 
There is no secret that counties like Cambodia are building new production plants and this show on all European markets. But on a small market like Slovenia (2 million residents) the relative changes are fierce and fast. In absolute numbers, Slovenia isn’t that frightening.
 
Slovenians always liked German technology (cars, electronics) and it seems it also applies on bikes. Over the past two years several German brands entered the Slovenian market (Canyon, Cube, Ghost, Stevens). This shows in figures that say that 2006 imports from Germany were worth € 1 million compared to € 291,000 in 2005.
 
Important suppliers to Slovenia are becoming Poland and Hungary, both investing in production capacity and both with cheaper labour than Slovenia. They are both on the list of countries that were supposed to be main suppliers to EU. On that list are also the new EU members Romania and Bulgaria, but for now they don’t play a big role on Slovenian market.
 
Slovenia has lost a lot of money and about 250 to 300 jobs when it was not capable to keep Rog alive and strong. But looking at the market it seems that there is more and more interest for both leisure cycling and commuting.
 
The market is growing and my personal bet is that next year figures will be even better. There was almost no snow this winter and temperatures were perfect for riding, so many dealers claim they had very good sales in the first two months of the year 2007. Usually this is a completely dead season.
 

Main suppliers from 2000 to 2006 (in units)

 
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
1
Taiwan
Taiwan
China
China
China
Taiwan
Taiwan
 
18.780
15.720
23.735
38.872
69.905
24.740
18.247
2
Italy
Italy
Italy
Taiwan
Taiwan
Italy
Italy
 
12.889
12.518
16.246
29.118
36.562
14.521
18.071
3
China
China
Taiwan
Italy
Italy
Vietnam
Cambodia
 
3.882
6.037
6.037
22.299
15.821
12.118
9.437
Source: SURS, Infolink
 

Import of bicycles

 
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
Value x € 1,000
€ 7,421
€ 10,022
€ 10,598
€ 13,304
€ 9,406
€ 10,264
Units
44,456
72,329
104,215
137,219
80,744
84,639
Average value
€ 166.93
€ 138.57
€ 101.70
€ 96.96
€ 116.50
€ 121.30
Source: Infolink
 

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