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<b>Germany 2009:</b> Double Digit Drop in 2009 Bike Sales

Sales & Trends

According to the German bike industry association Zweirad Industrie-Verband (ZIV), the economic crisis had a much bigger negative influence on 2009 bike sales than was previously expected. Last September ZIV expected a year-end decline of 5 to 6%. The actual numbers turned to be much worse. 2009 domestic deliveries of bicycles dropped by twice as much as predicted, showing a 12% decline!

<b>Germany 2009:</b> Double Digit Drop in 2009 Bike Sales

FRANKFURT, Germany – According to the German bike industry association Zweirad –Industrie-Verband (ZIV), the economic crisis had a much bigger negative influence on 2009 bike sales than was previously expected. Last September ZIV expected a year-end decline of 5 to 6%. The actual numbers turned to be much worse. 2009 domestic deliveries of bicycles dropped by twice as much as predicted, showing a 12% decline!

German Bicycle Production, Imports and Exports (x 1,000 units)

 
2009
2008
2007
2006
2007
Production
2,250
2,370
2,400
2,490
2,689
– exports
1.050
960
575
481
378
+ imports
2,640
2,920
2,757
2,439
2,434
Domestic delivery
3,850
4,320
4,582
4,448
4,745

Source: ZIV

At a press conference held at the end of March in conjunction with Eurobike organizer Messe Friedrichshafen, ZIV Managing Director Siegfried Neuberger reported that the difficult economic climate and a long and cold winter contributed to the 12% drop in domestic deliveries of new bicycles.

Domestic deliveries

A total of 3.85 million bikes were delivered by bike makers and/or importers to the various retail channels last year. The German industry association calculates this figure by adding up production and import numbers and subtracting export figures. As noted, in 2009 this figure was down 12% compared to 2008. During that year domestic deliveries of bicycles in Germany stood at 4.37 million bikes.

The ZIV calculations indicate the bike market deteriorated during the second half of 2009 in particular. As for the first half of 2009, at the opening of Eurobike 2009 last September the industry association reported that domestic deliveries of bicycles declined by nearly 8% compared with the same time period in 2008.

Most of the 3.85 million bikes delivered to the retail channels were Trekking bikes. With a 34% share in sales they are the most in demand, followed by City Bikes with a 24.5% share. MTBs and ATBs follow, with a combined share of 20%. Last year the growing demand for e-Bikes resulted in a 4% share in sales.

That demand brought about some happy faces in the German industry, as e-Bike sales showed an impressive 36% growth. According to the ZIV a total of 150,000 electric bicycles were sold last year, while in 2008 that number stood at 110,000. Interestingly, e-Bike experts regard the 2009/2008 sales numbers issued by the German industry association as too low. The same goes for ZIV’s estimates regarding e-Bike sales in 2009 for the whole of Europe.

In his press statement, MD Siegfried Neuberger says: “2008 saw e-Bike sales of about 300,000 units. In 2009 there were already 500,000 electric bicycles sold.” That ZIV estimates are not accurately representing the current state of the e-Bike market in Europe is indicated by the number of electric bicycles exported to Europe from China.

That export figures alone stood at 190,000 units in 2009. In view of that number and taking into account the rapidly growing production of e-Bikes in Europe, industry insiders claim that 2009 e-Bike sales in Europe stood at least at 750,000 units. For this year it is estimated sales will break through the 1 million mark. For Germany, ZIV expects 2010 electric bike sales of 180,000 units.

Production & export

Contrary to many other industry sectors in Germany, the bike industry managed to keep its production levels relatively on par with previous years. That’s the ZIV conclusion after comparing the 2009 output from German bike facilities with the devastating figures from other sectors, such as the car industry. According to ZIV a decisive reason for this result is the fact that the bicycle is still one of the most popular means of transport in general, and with an average of about 2.8 bicycles per household, well anchored in society. The fleet (the total number of bicycles in Germany) is estimated by ZIV at approximately 69 million units.

2009 bicycle production in Germany stood at 2.25 million units, down 7% from the 2.42 million produced in 2008. However, the value of all the bikes produced in Germany increased by 4.4%, for a total value of € 642 million. According to ZIV officials, one of the reasons for the increase in value is that the German bike sector managed to raise the quality awareness of the buyer. In addition, the higher average value of the bikes sold (also caused by the increased sale of expensive e-Bikes) is another reason for the rise in production value.

Nearly half (46.7%) of all the bicycles produced in Germany were exported during 2009. That export increased last year and not by small numbers. Despite all the economic turmoil exports rose by 8.6% to 1.05 million units.  ZIV attributes the success to German manufacturing standards saying, “It’s about quality. ‘Made in Germany’ is still asked for abroad.”

The value of all exported bikes was € 270.3 million in 2009, up 13.2% on 2008, while the average value per exported bike rose from € 248 in 2008 to € 258 for 2009.

Import

2009 bike imports into Germany stood at 2.64 million units, down 9% on the 2008 total. The import figures represent not only the bicycles sourced in Asia, but also ones that came from other EU member states like Poland or Bulgaria. Both nations are big bike exporters to Germany. The import from other EU member states totalled 1.279 million units, or 48% of all imported bikes.

Imports from other countries, mainly Asia, dropped 2% compared to last year, accounting for 1.361 million units. The value of all the bikes imported last year stood at € 482.5 million which was € 40 million (or 9.0%) higher than in 2008. The average imported bike value was € 183 in 2009, increasing 20% over 2008 (€ 152).

Biggest exporting countries to Germany were Taiwan, with 404,000 units, followed by Thailand with 363,000, and Poland with 273,000.

According to the German industry association calculations, the share of imported bikes in the number of domestically delivered bicycles stood at 59% last year. The ZIV concludes that with 41%, the market share of domestic German bike producers remains constant.

Distribution

Despite the 12% drop in domestic deliveries in 2009, the total turnover involved with the 3.85 million bikes delivered to the various retail channel increased by 7%. According to the ZIV € 1.8 billion was the 2009 turnover figure, up from € 1.7 billion a year earlier. The average value per delivered bike also increased in 2009 – from € 387 to € 446, an increase of 15.3%.

In 2009 the low-end segments of the bike market in Europe were particularly hardest hit by the financial crisis. This trend is represented in the 2009 ZIV figures on the distribution of bicycles in Germany. The distributors of these low-end bicycles, supermarkets, DIY stores, and department chains saw their share in total sales drop to 26%.

Dealers however, performed much better. They saw their share grow by 5% to a big 68% total. More quality awareness, and the growing number of expensive e-Bikes sold are, according to ZIV MD Siegfried Neuberger, reasons behind this positive development of the German bike sector in 2009.

New Bike Sales by Category (in %)

 
2009
2008
2007
Children Bikes
3
3
3
Youth Bikes
4
5
6
MTB
11
12
12
ATB
9
10
11
Trekking Bikes
34
33
32
City Bikes
24.5
23.5
23
Holland Bikes
2.5
2.5
2
Road/fitness
7
7.5
7.5
e-Bikes
4
2.5
1.5
Others
1
1
2

Source: ZIV

 

 

 

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