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Dutch Market Struggling in First Half Year

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Bike sales in the Netherlands have been struggling during the first six months of 2010. Poor weather conditions up to April had a big impact on the number of bikes sold. The sale of expensive electric bikes

Dutch Market Struggling in First Half Year

AMSTELVEEN, The Netherlands – Bike sales in the Netherlands have been struggling during the first six months of 2010. Poor weather conditions up to April had a big impact on the number of bikes sold. The sale of expensive electric bikes helped to keep the damage in terms of revenue limited.

Commissioned by industry association RAI and dealer association BOVAG, market researcher GfK Benelux compiles a monthly ‘Bike Sales Monitor’ for the Netherlands. This Monitor gets its sales data from not only IBDs (cash register entries) but also, what GfK calls ‘Mass Merchandisers’ like department stores; post-order and internet stores as well as DIY chains.

“All together the GfK panel covers over 85% of all bike sales in the Netherlands,” claims the market researcher. The data is presented in index figures for sales in units; for turnover and for average retail price for the month compared to the same month one year earlier.

The GfK index figures for the first six months of 2010 show that bike sales in units was in every month below the level of the same month in the previous year. What’s in particular striking is that in May, one of the most important months of the year for the sale of bicycles, the index stood at only 82. It means that, compared to the same month of 2009, 18% less bikes were sold.

May was not the lowest level of the year; bike sales hit rock bottom in February 2010 when temperatures were minus 15° Celsius or so in the Netherlands. With such weather conditions bike sales were a staggering 29% down compared to February 2009! For the other months; January was 8% down; March 7%; April 10% and June 6% compared to the same period one year earlier.

Talking at Eurobike to insiders of the Dutch market; they estimated that total sales for the first half of the year was about 12% down in units compared to the first half of 2010. These insiders also claimed that e-Bike sale was up on 2009, but not with such big numbers as in previous years. In 2009 the growth of the sale of electric bikes stood at 25%; for the first half of 2010 this growth is estimated at 20%.
 
This growth is reflected in the index figures for turnover which on the whole show a better picture than the unit sales index figures (see table). The same goes for the average retail price. Striking is here that they are up during every month compared to the same month in 2009.

Netherlands: Bike Sales Monitor

(index figures compared to same month 2009)

 
JAN 2010
FEB 2010
MAR 2010
APR 2010
MAY
2010
JUN 2010
Bike sales in units
92
71
93
90
82
94
Turnover (incl. VAT)
104
75
99
100
90
98
Average retail price
113
105
106
111
109
104

Source: RAI/BOVAG, GfK

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