Polish Market Enjoys Bicycle Boom
WARSAW, Poland –In 2013 Poles bought 1.28 million bicycles, 250,000 units more than in 2008. According to the Polish Bicycle Association, which gathered the market information in close cooperation with the IPC market research institute, the local market represents a value of one billion zlotys (€ 250 million).
The total number of bicycles sold in Poland includes the number of manufactured bikes, the difference between export and import, and about 100,000 bikes produced by small manufacturers. This category is generally below the threshold of the statistics which is at 180,000 units. Domestic production in 2013 reached 950,000 units, which makes Poland the fourth largest bicycle manufacturer in Europe. However, Polish bike production is shrinking, despite the fact that Poland was in the top of bicycle manufacturing countries.
Polish Bicycle Market
|Import (in units)||430,080||406,384|
|Import value (in PLN)||191,329,726||186,632,610|
|Export (in units)||523,571||514,336|
|Export value (in PLN)||373,755,309||276,327,945|
Source: Polish Bicycle Association
In 2013 the value of imported and exported bicycles remained at a similar level to 2012. With more than 300,000 units, Poland is still an important source for the bicycle industry in Germany. This country is buying the biggest quantity by far from their eastern neighbours. The second export market for Poland is Russia with only 19,000 units. For the Poles themselves, Germany is a much smaller supplier of bicycles, as Taiwan is the number one import country for Poland. In 2013 Taiwan exported 54,000 bicycles to Poland.
Market research results
The market research by the Polish Bicycle Association and the IPC Institute was focused on both industry and consumer behaviour. Part of the research included an interview with 607 consumers who bought a bike in the past twelve months. Of those interviewed 57% bought new bicycles. Those, who preferred new bicycles, were mainly women. The difference between men and women was twenty percentage points.
The leading bicycle suppliers are Kross, Romet & Arkus, and Giant. There is a strong polarity in consumer behaviour. Of the purchases 34% were in the lowest price category of 600 PLN/€ 150 (or less). At the other end of the market, 12% of purchasers bought bikes over 3,000 PLN (€ 750), which exceeds the average monthly salary in the country. More than half of the consumers bought their bikes in bicycle shops – probably professional and personal advice and clear terms of guarantee compensating for the higher prices. Less popular are the multi-sports stores such as GoSport or Intersport, who have a market share of only 13% in units.
The big popularity of supermarkets seems to be shrinking in Poland. In 2013 just 11% of respondents bought his or her bike in a supermarket. It is likely that problems with guarantee service and moderate levels of professional advice changed consumer behaviour. The Polish Bicycle Association notes that the Internet as a retail channel for bicycles is not very popular in Poland.
The most popular bicycle category is still the 26-inch wheel mountain bike. Second most popular are the touring-trekking bikes (700C). The sale of accessories is still an important part of each transaction. Poles spend 300 PLN or € 75 on average for additional accessories, in particular, bicycle lights.
In the market research of the Polish Bicycle Association, 39% of respondents declared that they are cycling every day. Some 30.7% cycle a couple of times a week. The modal share of the bicycle in everyday traffic is still not great, compared to Holland, Denmark, or Germany. However the importance of cycling in everyday traffic is increasing. During the European Cycling Challenge in the month of May, 1,500 cyclists in Warsaw made 26,000 trips using the Endomondo application, clocking 295,149 kilometres. Also in Poland more and more cities introduced public bike share systems, which massively increase cycle traffic. People who are afraid to leave their lovely weekend bikes chained to the lamppost are choosing the worry-free option of the public bike share.
Some drivers are doing this too, so the understanding of how a bicyle functions in traffic is growing and the behaviour of drivers towards cyclists is getting better. In Warsaw 3.5 million bike sharing rentals were recorded last year. In May 2014, 85% of the people of Krakow voted by referendum in favour of building of cycle infrastructure. And 55% were for the construction of a metro line. This made politicians aware of the popularity of cycling and the value of changing their political position to be more pro-cycling.
Second-hand bicycles are an important part of the Polish market representing 43% of all bicycles sold, generating a market value of 20 million PLN (€ 30 million). The refurbished bicycles are sold to shops by consumers, or used ones are imported from Western Europe. The Dutch Cycling Association Fietserbond is even worried about the industry of selling stolen bikes from Holland. However, this is not a significant part of the market. The main sources are the Police auctions. Some shops, like Wygodny Rower in Warsaw, have good contacts with shop owners in Holland, who redistribute the old bikes of their clients.