Expensive Models and E-bikes Increase Market Share in Sweden
STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Despite a cool, wet spring and early summer, bicycle sales and usage in Sweden increased this year. The volumes would even have been bigger if the Swedish kronor had not weakened against the US dollar, which forced suppliers to raise prices by 15-20% at the start of the season.
For 2015 the Swedish bicycle industry estimates the market volume at 598,000 units. Total imports of bicycles including e-bikes, between January and August increased to 492,820 units, compared to 454,415 units in 2014. Exports, mainly to neighboring Nordic countries expanded to 92,907 units compared to 91,642 in 2014.
The Swedish bicycle market is still dominated by so-called standard bicycles with internal hub gears and coaster brakes, although their popularity is declining while hybrid and trekking bike sales continue to increase. It is apparent that the market continues to grow due to the increasing interest for fitness cycling. The two big bicycle races, Vätternrundan in June, primarily for road bikes and MTB-Vasan in August are both growing. MTB-Vasan now has several days of competition, just like Vätternrundan. Thanks to the growing popularity of 27 and 29-inch wheels, the availability of high-end performance 26-inch bikes is very limited.
With the surge of the US dollar and more expensive bicycles increasing in sales, bicycle retailers have had a very satisfying season. Sales of e-bikes have increased substantially in 2015. Industry organization ‘Bicycle Industry Sweden’, formerly known as FOG estimates sales at around 30,000 e-bikes, up 70% compared to 2014. This increase is also reflected in the import statistics, which show an import of 31,157 e-bikes and export of 3,172. The local production of e-bikes is about 1,000 units.
Not only the volume but also the number of e-bike brands continues to increase. Ecoride, based in Gothenburg, started the manufacturing of its new brand Walleräng in Sweden. Even the all-Swedish manufacturer Skeppshultcykeln introduced an e-bike. This is one of the few manufacturers in Europe that also welds frames in its own factory. Other important brands on the Swedish e-bike market are Crescent, Batavus, Giant, Merida E-Green, Ecoride, Scott, and Trek. On the mass market, e-bikes are available as around 10,000 SEK (€1,070) from Biltema, Clas Ohlson and also from furniture store IKEA. IBDs sell e-bikes for between 14,000 SEK (€1,490) and 30,000 SEK (€3,190).
IBDs and sports chains
IBDs still hold a market share of 50%. Their main competitors are sports chains such as TeamSportia, Intersport, and XXL, while the largest sporting goods chain Stadium only holds a small market share. In 2015 TeamSportia was acquired by Finnish SGN Group which is collaborating with Tvåhjulsmästarna, a trade chain with 45 bicycle shops throughout Sweden. Bike Partner, with 35 bicycle dealers, has previously been associated with the chain. XXL continues to grow and now operates 18 large stores in Sweden. French Decathlon still runs only one department store in Stockholm and it appears to be difficult for the French to grow in Sweden.
In the mass market Biltema dominates with an estimated market share of 16-18%. Jula is also focusing more on bicycle sales while COOP is scaling back in Sweden. Internet sales, primarily for high-end road bikes and MTBs, have continued to grow and are estimated to comprise 6-7% of the market.