News Article

France 2011: After Five Years, Market Swings Up

Sales & Trends

PARIS, France – After five years of declines, the French bicycle market reversed its downward trend, with a 5.5% increase in sales volume over 2010 and a 6.5% increase in turnover. According to the latest statistic of the French industry association ‘Conseil National des Professions du Cycle’ (CNPC) France moved into third place in the European market, with 3.2 million bicycles sold in 2011.

France 2011: After Five Years, Market Swings Up

Mountain bikes for adults comprised 27% of sales volume, well ahead of other categories such as racing and city bikes. Leisure cycling remains the chief reason for cycle purchases, at 62% of total sales.

Turnover was €850 million for bicycles, as noted, an increase of 6.5% over last year. With parts and accessories included, total turnover reached €1.35 billion. All segments saw growth, with the exception of kids’ bicycles, which dropped slightly (-1.5%). In terms of value, adult mountain bikes accounted for a third of sales (32.5%), while racing bikes totaled 25%.

Parts and accessories rose 3% and accounted for nearly 40% of total turnover. Sales of city bikes remained stable, while folding bikes, rapidly becoming the poster child for urban mobility, doubled in sales volume compared to 2010, heralding the rise of a new and growing market. Sports supermarkets are accounting for 70% of folder sales, as specialty retailers are only claiming 20% and hypermarkets 10%. But this disparity could soon disappear.

Sports superstores now have 52% of market share – an 8% increase in sales. Specialty bike retailers can claim 23% of the market. Branded stores did better than their independent counterparts, experiencing a 6.5% increase in sales volume, compared to 2.5% for the latter. The specialists retain the lead in total value however, with 53.5% of revenues and 51% of total turnover (bike sales plus parts and accessories). Sports superstores dropped 8% in value compared to last year, with 37% of revenues. Hypermarkets gained 2.5% to 10%.

E-bikes Reposition

2011 sales of pedelecs (37,000) suffered as the low price hypermarket models are disappearing from the market. Past sales volumes (38,000 in 2010) in this category had accounted for 12% to 31% of the market. However, the market for electric bikes is repositioning itself and finding a home in speciality stores. Experts now realize more than 64% of pedelecs sales. Nonetheless, the market remains small compared to some EU neighbours. By comparison, Germans bought 310,000 pedelecs in 2011.

The average price saw a minor increase, rising to €265 in 2011, against €262 in 2010, still low compared to Germany (€450) and the Netherlands (€750). Large sports ‘superstores’ captured 52% of market share, with specialty bike shops claiming 23% of the market. Sales volumes rose 6.5% for the former and 2.5% for the latter. Food stores accounted for the remaining 25% of sales.

P&A Profits

P&A accounts for a significant portion of overall turnover. Sales were up 5% to €500 million, nearly 40% of total turnover (€1.350 billion) in the sector. French manufacturers such as Cycleurope, Look, Time, Planet Fun, and Matra delivered 899,900 bicycles, with 78% destined for the domestic market and 22% headed for export. Over 2.5 million bikes were imported, representing more than 80% of sales and plenty of potential for those manufacturers to build up their share of the domestic market.

Bicycle Sales – France 2011*

26″ MTB 868,000
20” – 24” MTB 619,800
Child Bikes (non-MTB) 700,300
Trekking, Hybrids 416,700
Road Race 175,600
City Bikes 285,600
BMX, Bi-Cross 131,200
e-Bikes 37,000
Total sales in units 3,197,200

* All figures sourced from: Study of the Observatoire du Cycle, conducted by the National Council of Professions Round, with the assistance of the Federation of Professional Business Sports and Recreation. This study does not record sales cycles via the web.

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