E-Bikes Are Most Important Trend
OSLO, Norway – The 2014 sales season has been a long and successful for the Norwegian bicycle market. While 2013 was hampered with a long and cold spring – 2014 has been blessed with excellent conditions thanks to an early spring and warm fall which increased the sales season. Also Norway is getting involved with e-bikes.
Norwegians are known to be the people that spends the most on sporting goods in the world per capita.
Actually this stands at three times more money than the average for Europe.
This presents a good start for the Norwegian bicycle trade to sell expensive electric bicycles.
Norway’s Biggest Bike Importers
Turnover in 2013
|Stains Sport AS||Merida E-Green||171,763,000|
|Beach Mountain||GT Diavelo||86,475,000|
|Hard Rocx||Hard Roxc||39,961,000|
Products & trends
The total number of sold bicycles in Norway is difficult to establish since there is not an official sales analysis. However, the volume of the bicycle market is estimated at around 400,000 units per year.
Norwegians in general buy their bike more for sport usage than for transport since a cycling infrastructure is not very well developed in the country. Even though mountainbikes have been the most popular category in Norway during the last 15 to 20 years; the 700 C hybrid/trekking bikes are increasing their popularity at the expense of MTBs. Norway is a “developing country” in terms of cycling infrastructure, but now consumers want more hybrid/trekking bikes since they realize it’s a more practical one for everyday use.
Electric bicycles form the most important product trend. In 2015 sales is predicted to triple as they are gaining popularity rapidly. However, the volume of the e-bike market in Norway is still small. In 2014 the total import of e-bikes from November 2013 to September 2014 has been 17.119 units. Most e-bikes are imported from China/Hong Kong and Germany. Sales is estimated to stand at 12,000 to 15,000 e-bikes annually currently. Average retail price stands at 645 euro. The strongest selling e-bike brands today are: Diavelo, Merida, DBS, Ecoride, E-Green and Emotion.
Politicians are debating if the VAT should be removed on e-bikes like on electric cars and many of the large sporting goods chains operating in the country are planning national marketing campaigns for e-bikes.
Next to e-bikes there are also other categories showing a rise in sales. Triathlon bikes for instance. Triathlon used to be a sport for the few. Now Triathlon is booming and attracts thousands of cyclists who previous only participated in the MTB marathon races that are losing popularity. Other trends are Cyclocross and Enduro. They also are showing an increase in popularity year by year. A trend which surprised the market is Fatbikes. Sales of ‘Fatties’ tripled while total sales is expected to reach 3 to 5,000 units in 2015.
Local production, import and export
There is no local production of bicycles in Norway. According to the Norwegian Bureau of Statistics (SSB) the total import of bicycles from November 2013 to September 2014 stood at 460,684 units (except e-bikes and trikes). The average value per imported bike was 202 euro. Norway is not a member of EU which means made in China bikes can be imported into the country (dumping) duty-free. China and Taiwan are Norway’s most important bike suppliers. 265,000 bikes were imported from China and 124,000 from Taiwan.
A recent study by market researcher Synnovate MMI (October 2014) states that the most well-known bike brands in Norway are DBS, Diamant and Merida. The leading independent bicycle suppliers are Stians Sport AS with the brands Merida and E-Green e-bikes and Cycleurope with its local brand DBS as well as Bianchi. Other large players in the Norwegian market are Scott, Trek, GT, local brand Hard Rocx and Giant.
Bike sales in Norway is dominated by retail chains. The Gresvig Group (operating the Intersport, G-Sport and G Max chains) is one of the biggest (sports and bike) retailer of the country next to Sport 1 and XXL. The Gresvig Group sells their own brands Diamant and Nakamura; Sport 1 imports and sells Xeed branded bikes and XXL sell the White, VeloCity and Spokes brands. The brands owned by the big sporting goods chains are becoming stronger since they control product, price and distribution.
In Norway there are only a few pure IBD shops. Instead there are lots of sporting goods stores that also sell skies in wintertime. 91 % of all stores belong to a chain or buying group which make Norway to an extremely retail chain driven market. The most successful sporting company in 2014 is retail Giant XXL Sport & Villmark that is rapidly gaining market share since its start in 2001.
In 2014 XXL passed the 24% market share which place them as the nr. 1 largest sport retailer in Norway before Gresvig group (23%). XXL has grown their business enormously the last 10-15 years. From their first shop in Oslo 2001 they now have expanded their shops and concept into Sweden and Finland and is rated to be the fastest growing sporting goods chain in the world. XXL went public on the Oslo Stock exchange this fall and is expected to grow with double digits numbers also into 2015.
In Norway there are few hypermarket chains except local chain Coop who sells its own brand and domestic brand DBS from Cycleurope. Since the top in 2008 we now see a record number of small and medium sized shops from all sporting goods chains (except XXL and G-Max) that had to close outlets this year due to fierce competition. Margins are under pressure and there is a clear shift towards more efficient, modern and larger outlets with higher turnover in the years to come.