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<b>Finland 2007:</b> Bike Market Polarized

Sales & Trends

TAMPERE, Finland – The promising forecasts for bicycle sales in Finland did not materialize in 2008, with sales likely to be around the same level as last year. The market has divided more and more; professional bicycle dealers can increase their average sales price, whereas the mass markets are going cheaper and cheaper.

<b>Finland 2007:</b> Bike Market Polarized

TAMPERE, Finland – The promising forecasts for bicycle sales in Finland did not materialize in 2008, with sales likely to be around the same level as last year. The market has divided more and more; professional bicycle dealers can increase their average sales price, whereas the mass markets are going cheaper and cheaper.

The Finnish Bicycle Market 2006 – 2008

 
2006
2007
2008*
Production
50,000
30,000
20,000
Import
272,335
314,072
317,000
Export
11,081
17,970
10,000
Domestic deliveries
315,000
310,000
305,000

Source: Manufacturers and custom statistics
*Estimates

In spring, market expectations were high with everyone in the business estimating sales would be well above the average year. The analysis was based on solid arguments. The media talked about climate change and fuel prices, and everyone could notice the latter at the fuel station.

Sales levelled

The role of the bicycle as a solution to the commuting problems was publicly recognized. The first sales month was superb, but then sales levelled and continued without any hot weekends throughout the summer. The final sales figures can already be estimated and will be slightly below last season.

Now the managers inside the industry are pondering what went wrong and what should be done to cash in on the positive image of the cycling. The retail market is divided into two parts, IBD’s and mass market. The brands sold by the professional bicycle and general sports dealers have maintained their sales according to their market share, but more importantly, the average sales price has increased.

However, the mass marketers were more active with their pricing and more bikes priced below 100 euros were sold. The market has polarized. There are consumers that appreciate quality, functionality and features, and are ready to pay a higher price tag. On the other hand some consumers grab the cheapest offer and are satisfied with two wheels and a bit of steel in between.

Bad times can be good

Most dealers have placed their orders for the next season. The financial crisis has not had a remarkable effect on the order level. There was a bad recession in Finland 15 – 17 years ago. Those years gave the dealers the experience they use today. When the consumers have to cut their expenditure, they stop buying houses and cars or other really big investments. Instead they have some money for smaller and really sensible products, that even can save money. A bicycle fits into that picture better than any other product.

Today, the media is talking about the financial crisis, but the problems of carbon emissions and energy shortages have not gone away. They remain valid arguments to sell bicycles.

 

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