Sweden: E-Bike Sales Up Big
STOCKHOLM, Sweden – A cold and chilly start to the pre-season never stimulates bicycle sales. But 2016’s hot and rain-free late summer helped in a big way. What’s more, this year the Swedish krona has been relatively stable against the dollar and euro. That boosted the spirits of the players on the Swedish market while an increase in sales of more expensive bikes and a continued increase in e-bike sales did that even more.
For 2016 total sales are estimated by the Swedish bicycle industry at a total market volume of 576,000 units. This represents a 3.7% drop on the 2015 total of 598,000 units. Bicycle import (including e-bikes) between January and August 2016 dropped by 7.5% (compared to the same period in 2015) to 456,000 units. Exports, mainly to neighboring Nordic countries, decreased by over 30% to 61,695 bicycles.
The Swedish bicycle market is still dominated by City Bikes equipped with internal hub gears and coaster brakes. However, their popularity is decreasing and trekking and mountain bike sales continue to increase. Fitness cycling with MTBs and road racers are still a growing trend. Big races stimulate the sale of high-end bikes. The two major cycling races, ‘Vätternrundan’ in June, mainly for road bikes and MTBs and ‘Vasan’ in August are both still growing. The MTB race Vasan now has several days of competition, just like Vätternrundan which has races taking place in several weekends.
The Mountainbike market is nowadays dominated by 27 and 29ers. Demand for 26 inch wheel high-end MTBs continues to decline. Bigger bike shops focusing on MTBs and road racers had a good 2016 season. Some of them are now also taking up e-MTBs. Smaller shops are hit harder by the decline in sales.
Swedish MTB rider Jenny Rissveds surprisingly won Olympic gold in Brazil in 2016, with a very well-executed race. This has its effects as Swedish cycling clubs are noticing an increased interest. This will undoubtedly result in more MTB sales in the spring of 2017.
Numerous TV reports and newspaper articles promoted e-bikes in a big way in Sweden. It resulted in strong continued growth. The Swedish bicycle industry association Cykelbranschen (formerly FOG) estimates sales of around 45,000 e-bikes in 2016. This is up a big 34% compared to 2015. Import statistics from January to August show an import of 41,783 electric bicycles; more than the import total for the whole of 2015 (40,767 e-bikes). E-bike export stood at 4,735 units over the first eight months of 2016. The e-bike production in Sweden is small and stands at around 1,800 units.
For the coming 2017 season Cycleurope will transfer a part of its e-bike production in France to Varberg in Sweden. And production will rise even further as Ecoride, Walleräng, Skeppshultcykeln and Monark step up their output. Next to that almost all importers have now e-bikes in their offerings.
IBDs still have a market share of 45 – 50% in bicycle sales. Their main competitors are sporting goods chains such as TeamSportia, Intersport, and XXL. Sweden’s largest sporting goods chain Stadium just has a small market share in bike sales.
TeamSportia recently acquired by Finnish SGN Group cooperating with Tvåhjulsmästarna, is a retail chain with 45 bike shops in Sweden. Bicycle Partners, in which 35 bicycle dealers are cooperating, is being associated with TeamSportia. The same goes for Sportringen that now belongs to the same group as TeamSportia.
The XXL sporting goods retail chain continues to grow and now operates 20 large stores in Sweden with high turnovers. XXL is also aggressive on the Norwegian market with 28 outlets. French Decathlon runs two department stores in the Stockholm area.
In the mass market the company Biltema dominates with an estimated market share of 18-20%. The Jula DIY retail chain is also focusing more on bicycle sales and is increasing its market share. The COOP supermarket chain that is also selling bicycles is seeing it market share drop. That cannot be said of Internet sales; which in Sweden, like in many other countries, is growing.