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<b>Sweden 2010: </b>Bike Market Struggles

Sales & Trends

This year the Swedish bike market had to struggle against bad weather conditions. First there was a long cold winter, then a windy spring, a short summer and finally a rainy August. That kind of weather doesnt help bike sales.

<b>Sweden 2010: </b>Bike Market Struggles

GOTHENBURG, Sweden – This year the Swedish bike market had to struggle against bad weather conditions. First there was a long cold winter, then a windy spring, a short summer and finally a rainy August. That kind of weather doesn’t help bike sales.

The Bike Market in Sweden (in units)

 
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
Production
125,000
125,000
125,000
125,000
120,000
110,000
Import
434,000
463,356
459,950
479,643
534,464
412,035
Export
65,000
99,374
90,676
90,000
80,000
n.a
Domestic Deliveries
430,000
440,000
460,000
485,000
530,000
500,000

Sources: Production/Domestic Deliveries: estimates  /  Import/export: Eurostat

Even so the total sales of bikes in Sweden during the season (1st of September 2009 to 31st of August 2010) increased approximately 6%, and reached over 500,000 bikes sold. The turnover increased even more, which indicates that the average price per bike also increased. This all had to do with Sweden’s weak national currency which lost 20% to 30% of its value against the US dollar, Euro and Japanese Yen. With that, bike prices surged.

Contradictions

Contrary to the small increase in bike sales; the import of bicycles into Sweden from other European countries, as well as from outside Europe (read: Asia) dropped hard. In 2008 close to 535,000 bikes were imported; the figure for 2009 stands at only about 410,000 units. This boils down to a import drop of well over 20%. By the way, these numbers come from the European Union data bureau Eurostat. It presents a clear indication that despite the 6% rise in sales the general trend shows a different picture. Looking at this trend the only logical explanation is that stock levels of bicycles at dealers, as well as importers and distributors, must have come down big time!

The Swedish bike market is getting acquainted with electric bicycles. There have been commercials on TV, as well as ads for e-Bikes from companies outside the bike industry. This has resulted in a big increase in percentages in electric bicycles sold. However, this big increase is relative as the number of e-Bikes sold in Sweden is still low.

Still most consumers in Sweden are using bikes for commuting – transport to job or school, so there are large opportunities for further increasing sales by aiming towards the sports and recreation aspects of biking.

The Swedish trade organization – Svensk Cykling also sees potential for the nation’s bike industry. In a review of sales statistics for 2010, the organization offered this comment, “There is a continuing cycling trend in the country. More and more politicians realize the benefits of bicycling, urban planners start taking cycling seriously – and the Swedes flock to bike shops.

Changes

During the past year there have been a lot of changes, company-wise.

  • Stian-Sport, Norwegian distributer of Merida Bikes, started Merida Sverige AB on Nov. 1st 2009, and are now trying to bring the Norwegian ‘mountain bike boom’ to Sweden.
  • Skeppshult, making traditional Swedish bikes got new owners. Skeppshult started its bicycle production in 1911 and is the only bicycle factory in Sweden, manufacturing bicycles in full since its inception.
  • Trek started up its new organization in August, moving to new locations in Halmstad. Duells, who sold Trek-bikes before, will concentrate on selling parts and accessories.

Another change in the Swedish bike sector is the clear trend for dealers to join forces. They start cooperating in chains like Sportson, 2-hjulsmästarna and Team Sportia’s bikestore ‘Bike Partner’. All these dealer cooperatives increased their number of members compared with last year.

  • Team Sportia, the third biggest sport-chain in Swedish market, bought Sportex who had 20 shops, and are after that deal now the largest retail-chain for bikes in Sweden.
  • XXL, who has made a great impact at the Norwegian market, is starting up two shops in Stockholm and one in Gothenburg.

Sports trend

The trend of people becoming more active, using a bike for training and exercise, as well as transportation, is already speeding up. There’s an increasing number of participants at races.

  • The biggest Swedish road race event, Vättern-Rundan had more than 21,000 participants, and the race for next year is already sold out.
  • An up and comer is Cykel-Vasan, using almost the same track as the Vasaloppet cross country ski race. In its second year there were already more than 4,000 participants and its expecting more than 6,000 for 2012.
  • Cyclo-cross, got ‘downtown’ with races in the ‘Merida-Northwave’ Cyclo-cross cup series held in center of Stockholm, were the sport got huge publicity.
  • In January the doors opened up for the first indoor-track in Sweden since 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. It has been a huge interest for this project among all cyclists in Sweden and the company running the arena had a flying start.

 

 

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