E-bikes are Entering Norway
OSLO, Norway – The 2013 bicycle season in Norway was hampered by a slow start, due to a cold and rainy spring. This resulted in an extremely weak start for 2013 sales. But, most of the business lost in spring was regained later, thanks to stable weather in the summer and an increasing interest in cycling across the country.
For the first time in almost a decade, the total sports market in Norway declined by 1.7% in 2012. Nevertheless, the bicycle market remained stable. Though there are no official statistics on the number of bicycles sold in Norway, the total market is estimated at close to 400,000 units. Norway’s cycling infrastructure is not very well developed, with road conditions for urban cycling close to miserable in most major cities. As a result only 6% of all Norwegians ride their bike to work or school every day.
Sales Norwegian Bicycle importers*
|Stians Sport AS||20.1||Merida|
|Cycle Europe||12.9||Dbs, Bianchi|
|Sykkelshop Sandnes||11.0||Velotech, Ridley|
|Beach Mountain||10.1||Schwinn, GT|
|XXL||n.a.||Spokes and White|
* In million euro
Sales of e-bikes to explode?
E-bike sales in Norway have only been moderate despite its mountains. The hilly countryside could make the market perfect for e-bikes, but major importers and distributors have not pushed the product very hard. The absence of cycle paths, as well as lack of interest by the media hasn’t helped e-bikes sales either, which are considered to be only around 1% of the market, at roughly four to five thousand units. For 2014, major brands such as Scott, DBS, Giant, and Merida are introducing several new models and they forecast a doubling or tripling of the market size.
The hot topic for 2013 sales in the mountain bike segment was the 29er although many importers and retailers still have 26-inch wheel bikes still in stock. The market is also rapidly shifting to 27.5-inch as well. The majority of the market is medium-priced MTBs and hybrids. A growing number of people are discovering cycling as a winter sport or using bicycles for specific needs. As a result people buy more than one bicycle, as their interests might include mountain bikes, road bikes, cyclocross, triathlon, fatbikes for cycling in winter, and commuting.
Importers and distribution
Four major bicycle distributors dominate the Norwegian market. Gresvig, Stians Sport AS, Ramo, and Cycleurope. According to the sporting goods association, “Sportsbransjen”, nine retails chains account for 91% of the turnover in the sporting goods business, including bicycles.
The fierce competition fosters an increase in sales volume and decrease in the average retail price and margins for most importers and retailers. As a result a lot of small shops are having to close their business, as they cannot compete with the large retail chain stores. With a market share of 38%, the Gresvig group is the largest player in the market. XXL is Norway’s fastest growing retail chain, operating 21 stores in Norway and 12 in Sweden. It will open its first outlet in Finland in spring 2014.