<b>Switzerland 2005:</b> More at Mass Markets

Sales & Trends

MAARSSEN, the Netherlands – The Swiss bike market was stable once more with 277,000 bikes sold (children’s velos not counted). But sales prices saw bigger differences: the dealer trade saw a 23% rise in expensive (over CHF 2000 = € 1280) priced biks. At the same time, the mass markets increased their sales figures for […]

<b>Switzerland 2005:</b> More at Mass Markets

MAARSSEN, the Netherlands – The Swiss bike market was stable once more with 277,000 bikes sold (children’s velos not counted). But sales prices saw bigger differences: the dealer trade saw a 23% rise in expensive (over CHF 2000 = € 1280) priced biks. At the same time, the mass markets increased their sales figures for bicycles with prices under CHF 1000
(€ 640) with 30%.

Swiss Bike Sales in 2005

’Naked’ Sports bikes
IBD Share
Chain Stores
MTB 26”
Cross 28”
Road Racers
Junior 20-24”
Bikes with lights & mudguards
City 28”
City 26”
Junior 20-24”

According to statistics of the Swiss trade association Velosuisse, the better part in 2005 sales again went to the Mountainbike with 135,000 units sold. City velos with lighting, chainguard and luggage carrier, although slightly more than the previous year, come clearly behind the MTB in numbers. Many Mountainbikes are used for commuting only, and have afterwards or from new, been fitted with mudguards, but they count as mountain velos in the statistics.

IBD: sports velo trend

Proof of the fact that MTBs are more and more used for fitness purposes, is the increase with nearly 25% for the high-end Mountainbikes, and a straight fit on the slogan: ‘Quality gives velo pleasure, velo pleasure means fitness!’ Another indicator for the increasing willingness to keep fit are sales of road race bikes. The fact that many fanatical mountainbikers have discovered the road racer as a summer alternative caused an increase with 20% to about 14,000 racers sold.

Of course, it is the dealer channel that profits from the rise in sales of high-end MTBs and racers. This sales channel took 72% of the market in units, which is a lonely high percentage, alongside the situation in the Netherlands. The network is a tight mesh with 1,000 dealer outlets left, with loyal customers who are prepared to pay a little more for good products and service. On average, the Swiss are more demanding on advice, design and service than the average customer in Europe.

Chain stores need brands

But also in the sub-CHF 1000 (€ 641) price class do the solid chain stores score better than the real discounters and streetcorner batch sellers with the cheapest velos of dubious quality. Migros, Co-op and Ochsner could each increase their 2005 share in this segment with a full 30%, according to Velosuisse all clearly to the detriment of the cheapest. Nevertheless, Migros itself has successfully launched its M-Budget bikes in the lowest price class: after the tryout batch of 777 units sold like hot cakes, the CHF 299 (€ 192) green cultish bikes is now standard available, and a CHF 199 (€ 128) children’s model has been added.

But the success of the chain stores is relative: more Mountainbikes, but less youth and BMX so that the overall result remains the same: 77,000 units. It should be noted that these are all private labels, and the categorical refusal of the A-brands is experienced as a handicap. But the signals that this anachronism in the present sports trade is crumbling, are becoming more frequent – branded accessories and apparel are
widely sold by chain stores.

Figures widely out of focus

Even after the revised methodology introduced three years ago, the beautiful and well-groomed figures supplied by Velosuisse still suffer from an irritating cosmetic imperfection: they do not run parallel with the customs figures. The customs calculate a consumption of 374,000 bikes, minus 50,000 children’s bikes the association does not count. Another 15,000 should be deducted: the privately-imported bikes, for instance through the internet. 40,000 units should be added: the velos assembled and sold in Switzerland.

The addition ends at 349,000 bikes – no les than some 70,000 units out of focus and missed by the association’s statistics. A factor are the several dozen small assemblers who are no members of the association: their figures are not supplied but estimated. Insiders are convinced that the biggest share, maybe even an intentional underestimate, of the difference is hidden in the cheapest distribution channels like Conforama, Jumbo, Otto’s and Auktion Z, who do not supply any figures like the top three chain stores do. But then the specialist dealers’ share would suddenly be much lower.

Swiss Bike Park 2005: ca. 3.9 Million units. In value unchanged.
Total employed: ca. 6000 (unchanged)
Total turnover: about CHF 620 million (€ 390 mn) + 3 %.

Swiss Motorcycle Market on the Trendy Trail

The total number of registered motorcycles and scooters in Switzerland has been steadily increasing from 1998 on. Last year’s increase was 1.5%, sales of scooters and 50cc models went slightly down, but the big road and touring bikes grew like ever before.

In 2002, 17,989 new motorbikes found their way to the customer. With the new drivers’ license arrangement in 2003, the sales jumped up to 22,392 and 23,863 in 2004, the highest figures since 1995. With a slight slowdown in 2005, figures are back at the 2003 level, good like before and the highest national average in Europe.

50cc motorbikes wanted!

Within the 50cc category, scooters do best. In 2005 again the 10,000 unit barrier was broken with 10,513 scooties. The explanation for the slight regress is that many youth opted for a 50cc motorbike instead. This new category (since 2003) is steadily on the rise, like the 125cc motorcycle that was thought to be stone dead: it increased its share with 17.3% while 125cc scooters lost 5.5%. Together they were good for 8,441 new registrations.

Beloved 250cc scooter

Scooters dominate the 250cc class. With 1,512 units, they took 80% in their class, and increased with 11.8% vs 2004. Quite popular were the heavyweights: the class over 750cc plussed 1.8% to 8,841 units. Within this class, enduros were down 18.7% to 1,054 units and cruisers down 31% to 1,297 units, way behind  expectations.

Total numbers grow

In 1990, Switzerland had a gross total of 299,264 registered PTW’s. At the end of 2005, the figure was 591,450, almost double the 1990 number. Although scooters lost a bit, their total number rose from 228,995 to 235,518. Motorcycles went up from 353,103 in 2004 to 355,932 in 2005. The total is growing because
motorcycles hardly wear out with an average of an estimated 5000 km per year, today’s motorcycles reliability plus the emotional affinity of the owner who doesn’t swop the bike as easily as a car.

PTW Dealers
Dealers for motorcycles and scooters     600
Dealers for scooters only    500

PTW sales (in units; excluding private sales)

New Motorcycles
New Scooters
New Mofas  
Used Motorcycles
Used Scooters
Used Mofas

Swiss PTW Park (in units)

Total employed

Comment on this article