Mild Weather Boosts Swedish Sales

Sales & Trends

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – The 2014 sales season has been long and successful for the Swedish bicycle market. An important trend is the growing number of bicycles sold through the large sporting good chains. Retail giants like Intersport and Stadium are now gearing up to gain a substantial share of the Swedish bicycle market.

Mild Weather Boosts Swedish Sales

Bicycle Sales Sweden 2014

Distribution Channel Units
Bicycle retail/Sport chains 352,000
Internet 35,000
Non IBD/Hypermarkets 189,000
Total 576,000

The 2014 bicycle season has been long and warm and with excellent sales conditions due to an early spring and warm fall which prolonged the sales season. The growing usage of bikes in Sweden, even in winter time, is reflected in the sales numbers. Total number of bicycles sold in Sweden this year is estimated at 575,000, an increase of roughly 3.5 % on last hear. Total import of bicycles from January to August increased slightly from 446,192 units in 2013 to 454,415 in 2014.

Product and market trends

Historically Swedes bought their bikes for mobility purposes and not often much for sport and recreation. The most popular bicycle category is still the ‘standard bicycle’ with an internal gear hub. Trekking bikes (700C) for commuting and mountain bikes are getting more and more popular, taking market shares from the traditional ‘basket bikes’ equipped with an internal gear hub. This type of bicycle used to be the standard choice for most cyclists and dominated the Swedish market for a long period.

In past years the increasing popularity of cycle races like Cykelvasan have given a major boost to 27″ and 29″ mountain bikes sales. This year the fifth edition of Cykelvasan attracted almost 20,000 racers being the largest and most popular cycle race in Sweden. Also the three hundred kilometer Vasaloppet enjoys a growing popularity. These events are an important stimulus for the sports bike market and MTB in particular. It is expected that these races will not only have a positive impact on sales volume of high-end MTB and road bikes but also grow the average price of bikes sold in Sweden.

Klas Elm of the Swedish trade association ‘Svensk Cykling’ attributes the rising amount of money Swedes spent on bicycles to increased familiarity. “For a lot of people cycling has become a part of everyday life,” says Elm. “People have become more aware of the importance of good quality bicycles. The growing knowledge on bicycles and cycling make people spending more on quality products in case of bicycles as well as accessories.”

Svensk Cykling is also actively involved in the promotion of everyday cycling as an important mean of mobility but also for people’s health. A survey published by Svensk Cykling indicates that 19% of all Swedes use bicycles at least four times a week to go to school, to commute, or for shopping.

E-bikes entering the market

E-bike sales in Sweden has been very moderate so far. For 2015 the most important brands on this market have announced their first nationwide sales campaigns. The number one e-bike brand on the Swedish market is the local brand EcoRide. Other important e-bike suppliers are Merida, E-Green, Giant and Cresent. The import of e-bikes increased 79% from 10,479 units in 2013 to 18,722 from January to August 2014.

The Swedish bicycle market can be divided in two parts. More than half of the consumers buy their bikes at the IBD or a shop of one of the sporting chains. The other half acquires their new bicycle in a supermarket or hypermarket such as Biltema, Coop, ICA or Decathlon. Next to that internet sales is growing in Sweden like in many other countries. According to research company Synnovate MMI roughly 7% of all Swedes say they are likely to buy their next bicycle from an international web store. It is estimated that around 35,000 bicycles are imported by foreign web shops.

For many years the distribution of bicycles has been stable and traditionally divided between IBDs and hypermarkets. However some years ago the sporting good chains Stadium and Intersport entered the market. They are expected to grow considerably in the next few years. The buying group Team Sportia has been one of the largest distributors of bicycles in Sweden and after a period of financial troubles, the retailer seems to have solved its problems. Norwegian retail giant XXL is the fastest growing player in the Swedish market. XXL just went public and is now listed in the Norwegian stock exchange in Oslo.

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