Greece Market Stabilizes in Volume
ATHENS, Greece – The cycling industry has not recovered from the harsh reality of the Greek economy, however the statistics show that the decline in sales is not as big as it was. The imports and exports data show that bicycles remain popular despite the economy, but the effects of the dramatic financial situation of the country are still clear and present.
The country is still in a mode of constant turmoil and in the media spotlight. Focusing on the cycling market in the Greek economy, the latest Eurostat statistics show that the bicycle imports have once again declined in 2014 by 6.3% in volume (was 35.3% in 2013) and 14.9% in value (was 12.8% in 2013).
The average import price per unit is now €95. Bulgaria is still the main trading partner in terms of import, although the volumes dropped by 55,000 units in 2013 to 36,000 in 2014. At the same time Turkey sold 28,368 bicycles to Greece last year, almost double as much in 2013. Taiwan and Italy are the next biggest suppliers, though with much lower quantities and at a higher average price.
Growing import from Turkey
The shift of bicycle imports from Bulgaria to Turkey also reflects the financial situation of the country. The average price of a Bulgarian made bike is over €80, while those from Turkey have an average price of just €52. It only speeds up the downward price spiral of bicycles. Industry insiders estimate that less than 200,000 bikes were sold in Greece last year.
Not surprisingly the sales of accessories and soft goods are also dropping. According to a reliable source the whole market is about 45% smaller in turnover than in 2011. Still the Athens Bike Festival manages to attract over 35,000 visitors and some 65 exhibitors representing the local industry. In the cycling hype which emerged after the financial crisis, a lot of new bicycle stores were opened as cycling was seen as a cheap alternative for cheap mobility. This trend slowed down and that caused a lot of problem for the stores. Most of them are now closed down.
Although Greece is not a real bicycle-producing country, it still exported 14,909 units in 2014, some 1,000 units or 6% less than in 2013. More dramatic is the drop in export value, from €3.5 million in 2013 to €2.2 million last year. Greece’s main trading partners in bicycles are still: Cyprus, Germany and the Netherlands. On the export market Nikos Maniatopolos S.A. still plays a major role, while also some small brands emerge and try to get a foothold on foreign markets and showed their products on Eurobike.