Italian Bicycle Industry in Positive Mood
MILAN, Italy – 2013 was another difficult year for Italy as the economic crisis continued. All industries were suffering. For instance, delivery of powered two-wheelers (scooters and motorcycles) was down 25.5% in 2013. The bicycle industry was more positive on production and sales.
Taking into account the economic situation of the country as well as the harsh spring weather conditions, the bicycle market preformed well last year with 1,542,758 bicycles and 51,405 e-bikes sold, resulting in a total decline of only 3.5%. Remarkable was the 11.8% increase in e-bike sales.
Bicycle production was the highlight of the year with 2,671,200 units, a staggering increase of 21.9% from 2.19 million in 2012. Is this the beginning of the revival of the Italian bicycle industry? In 2013, Italian bicycle exports, excluding e-bikes shot up with an amazing increase of 38.8% to 1,745,996 units (from 1.26 million in 2013). The average value of exported bicycles & e-Bikes was reduced slightly: € 103.32 per bicycle from € 108.44 in 2012. This is also the result of the concentration of 20-inch bikes in the export volume. Decathlon is one the companies investing seriously in local production and exporting those bicycles to other countries in Europe.
Italian Bicycle Market 2013
|Sales bicycles||1,606,014||1,542,758 (-3.9%)|
|Sales pedelecs||46,000||51,405 (+11.8%)|
According to the statistics of ANCMA (the National Association for the Bicycle and Motorcycles Industry) the Italians imported 665,618 bicycles, a decrease of 7.7% from 2012. The increase of the average value of imported bicycles rose strongly from € 199.06 in 2012 to € 219.19 last year. This reflects the higher price of imported e-bikes, but also the trend towards higher value bicycles in Italy.
In line with the economic situation, the domestic consumption of 1,652,014 million bicycles in 2012 was followed by slightly lower sales of 1,594,163 units (including 51,405 e-bikes) in 2013 (-3.5%). “At the end of the day and in view of the whole Italian economic situation the bicycle industry had a good business year in 2013” said Pietro Nigrelli, who is responsible for the bicycle department at ANCMA.
“Other industries are really bad off. Compared with them the bicycle industry did rather well in Italy in 2013.” Based on the new GFK Eurisko statistics (see box), the bicycle market can be categorised in six sections. Mountain bikes are still popular for sports and leisure use and have a market share of about 31%. Children and youngster bikes represent around 18% of the market while road racing bikes, the fame of the Italian industry, had a healthy market share of over 6%. The market share of city/trekking bikes is 32% and the classic/Italian type 9%. E-bike sales amount up to 3.2% in 2013, an increase from 2.8% in 2012.
Taking these last three groups, city/trekking, classic/Italian and e-bikes together the urban used bicycles now represent 44.2% of the market in volume. This is a clear sign that the Italian bicycle market is shifting from sports orientation only to transportation as well. The Italians seem to like the power-assisted e-bikes with 250W and e-assistance to max. 25 km/h the most. To support the positive trend towards e-bikes and to normal city/trekking bikes ANCMA has also started training courses for IBDs to improve their marketing capacity and to open them more towards new clients wanting to cycle but not to participate in sporting competitions. Consumer prices for e-bikes have not reached the level of similar products as in Holland or Germany but clients are willing to pay around € 1,200 and some even more for a high-quality e-bike.
In 2013 general supermarkets and sports supermarkets each sold 30% of bicycles. However the supermarkets generated only 20% of the total revenues, while the sports supermarkets have a market share of 28% in value. IBDs sell 40% of the bikes and have a 52% market share. Nevertheless it does not hide the fact that IBDs lost an important part of their revenues to the supermarkets in 2013. Last year IBD’s turnover was generated by bicycles (47%), P&A (23%), apparel (6%) bike repair, food nutrition, and other products (24%).
Forecast for 2014
The average value of exported Italian bicycles went down 4.7% to € 103.32 in 2013, showing a change in the type of exported bicycles. More important is the fact that the export volume increased by 38.5%. According to ANCMA this is a side effect of the renewal of the anti-dumping duties for Chinese-made bicycles. The industry organisation also sees a consolidation of this trend in 2014. This year also shows further positive signs for the bicycle industry as a whole since the economy is slowly recovering in Italy. Doubts remain on the governmental measures to balance the public debt and to give some support to the industry as a whole. On the other side the image of the bicycle has grown immensely. Many consumers have changed their attitude towards cycling and even the more non-sport-oriented citizens are cycling in Italy’s streets today.