<b>Germany 2006:</b> IBDs: winning market share

Sales & Trends

Here are the German bike sales numbers 2006 based on calculations by the Statistisches Bundesamt and ZIV. Compared with the previous year 2006 has seen a 6.3% drop in the overall domestic deliveries of new bicycles. The total came down to approximately 4.448 million units. The reasons for the unsatisfactory bicycle sales in 2006: poor weather, the Soccer World Cup and sluggish economy.

<b>Germany 2006:</b> IBDs: winning market share

BAD SODEN, Germany – Three major reasons are given by German Two Wheeler Industry Association ZIV for the unsatisfactory bicycle sales in 2006. First: weather was poor at the beginning of the season. Second: the Soccer World Cup in June and July led to a collective overall craze that had nothing in mind but soccer (and no bicycling at all). Third – and due to the sluggish economy – German consumers were keeping back their cash.
Here are the German sales numbers 2006 based on calculations by the ‘Statistisches Bundesamt’ and ZIV. Compared with the previous year 2006 has seen a 6.3% drop in the overall domestic deliveries of new bicycles. The total came down to approximately 4.448 million units.  


German Bicycle Production, Imports and Exports (in units)

+ Imports
– Exports
Domestic Deliveries
Source: ZIV
While German bicycle production dropped 7.4% to 2.49 million units, bicycle exports from Germany rose – compared with the disappointing results of 2005 – 27.3% up to 481,000 units. Major exports went neighbouring Austria (112,000 units), France (92,000) and the Netherlands (62,000). All in all, German bike producers kept a 45.2% stake on their domestic market (2005: 52%).


While home production dropped and exports increased, bicycle imports into Germany were stable on a 2.44 million units level (= plus 0.3%). This figure represents a solid 54.8% of Germany’s domestic deliveries in 2006. Looking at their country of origin there are some interesting changes. 24.6% of all bicycles imported to Germany were of Asian origin, 24.5% came from nearby EU-25 nations, 5% from other Eastern European countries and 0.7 percent (i.e. 1,000 units) from America/Australia.
Nearby countries like Poland and Lithuania lost part of their bicycle exports to Germany. On the other hand Hungary – due to rising production of Dutch Accell Group in that country – is increasing its bicycle imports to Germany. Bulgaria also increased its bike imports to Germany.
Major bicycle importers to Germany are: Taiwan (about 439,000 units, market share: 10%) followed by Lithuania (252,000 units, 6%), Poland (230,000 units, 5%), Vietnam (186,000 units, 4%), Bulgaria (164,000 units, 4%) and Hungary (147,000 units, 3%).

Distribution channels

Looking at the distribution channels, there is good news for the valuable IBD market. IBD’s were able to increase their market share in units from the previous year’s 52% to 54% in 2006. According to ZIV, this underlines a trend to high-value products. ZIV-GM Rolf Lemberg estimates that the IBD’s share in terms of value of last year’s total bicycle sales was € 1.53 billion or: “More than 71%”. The average sales price of a bicycle sold in Germany in 2006 (through all distribution channels) was approximately € 345.
DIY markets and department stores lost 2% of their share of the market, down to a 37%. Online sales (including the increasing internet sales by IBD’s) increased 1% to 4.5%, and mail order suppliers lost 1% down to 2.5%. The remaining and stable 2% rolled through ‘Others’.

Bicycle categories

Trekking bikes are best sellers in Germany and their popularity is growing. This category saw its market share rise 2% up to a total of 30%. On the other hand the second-largest category (city bikes) dropped 2% down to 25%. All terrain bikes (= ATB’s. According to ZIV these are fully-equipped mountain bike look-alikes mainly sold through the mass merchant distribution channel) also lost 2% market shares down to 13%. Genuine Mountainbikes went up 1% to 12%. The remaining bike categories scored the following 2006 market shares: The valuable 28 inch road racers/ fitness- and cyclocross bikes 8%, youth bikes 6%, kids’ bikes 3%, Dutch and touring bikes 2% and ‘Others’ (recumbents, folders etc.) 1%.

Outlook for 2007: Delivery Problems?

If the weather will stay as good as in March, April and the beginning of May, bicycle suppliers might be facing delivery problems. Due to the unsatisfactory sales in 2006, IBD’s trimmed their 2007 orders carefully – and are now more or less sold out. But according to ZIV-GM Rolf Lemberg it’s not only the extraordinary good weather. It’s also the positive development of the German economy as a whole. People are willing to spend their money again. And high-end premium brand product sales are also picking up. They will definitely breathe new life into the German IBD world.
Another positive impulse: the European Cyclists’ Federation’s (ECF) international Velo-city 2007 Congress will be held in Munich (12th to 15th June, see This event already has a positive effect on Germany’s bicycle infrastructure and bicycle advocacy even before it started. In Germany too, bicycle advocacy on a longtime base is considered an effective lobbying tool to push bicycle use (and, as a consequence, bike sales).


Scooter Hype: Germany Becomes Italian 

BAD SODEN/ESSEN, Germany – According to the German TwoWheeler Industry Association ZIV, the poor sales of Powered TwoWheelers (PTWs) in the first half of 2006 were well made up for during the second half of the year. All in all, a total of 275,747 PTWs have been sold. Compared with the previous year this is a 3.7% increase.
The number of 275,747 units is divided into the three categories up to 50cc, 50 to 125cc and more than 125cc. While the numbers of the more than 50cc categories of both ZIV and the Motorbike Industry Association (IVM) are convergent (because based on new registrations by the KBA = ‘Kraftfahrbundesamt’) the figures for the under 50cc category are totally different.  


Far East imports

ZIV estimates total unit sales of ‘more than 200,000’ 50cc mopeds and scooters mainly based on price-attractive Far East imports which were notably higher than last year. This figure would represent a big 25% sales increase. IVM, on the contrary, calculates only sales of 109,906 50cc mopeds and scooters. Compared to their previous year’s figure; also a two-digit 12.9% increase. As usual, ZIV explains the gap of around 90,000 units between both figures as due to: “Countless Far East 4-stroke C50 clones sold though DIY-markets and other discounters.”
The number of newly-registered 165,840 PTW’s (= everything over 50cc) was published by KBA. Compared with 2005 there is a slight 2.81% drop. Major sales increase is reported in the 50 to 125cc ‘light’ category. While sales of light motor scooters grew 14.0% up to a total of 27,484 units, sales of light PTW’s between 50 and 125cc dropped 8.2% down to a total of 17,774 units (source: ZIV/IVM). 


More light scooters than in Italy

IVM notes: “For the first time in the history of motorized scooters, Germany sold more light scooters in the first quarter of the year than the traditional homeland country of the scooter, Italy”. According to the ZIV: “The potential of the 125cc category as a fantastic mobility solution remains inadequate. Easier driving license regulations would give a further push to this category. We are still fighting to include the driving license for light scooters and light motorbikes in the car driving license. Until today, this is only valid for car driving licenses being passed before 1st April 1980”. IVM agrees: “This random date for maturity does not seem plausible at all”.
According to IVM, BMW is leader of the German motorbike sales 2006 top six. Nevertheless, the Bavarians’ sales dropped, compared with the previous year, 2.1% down to 18.5% of the total market. All numbers two to five are Japanese manufacturers. With a market share of 18.2% (compared with 2005: plus 0.5%) Honda is a sharp second before Suzuki (17.4%, plus 2.2%), Yamaha (14%, minus 0.9%) and Kawasaki (10.4%, minus 0.2%. Number six is Austrian KTM (4,4%, plus 0.3%).
Backed by this year’s great spring weather and the recovery of the economy; experts foresee a further brilliant development for 2007. A best-ever quarter sales increase of 12.3% since 1997 was reported for January to March 2007!  


German PTW sales by Engine Capacity (in units)

< 50cc
50 to 125cc
Over 125cc
Source: KBA/IVM
* Estimates by IVM

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