News Article

French Sales Value Reaches Record Height

Sales & Trends

PARIS, France – The market value in France reached its highest level (at € 1.691 billion) since the start of the French Bicycle Observatory in 1999, although bicycle sales did not show as much progress in as 2015. Also the e-bike sales increased substantially and tipped the 100,000 unit mark.

French Sales Value Reaches Record Height
Market value in France reached its highest level (at € 1.7 billion) since 1999. – Photo Bike Europe

The 2015 statistics show that the e-bike has finally gained solid ground in the French market. For the third year in a row the market volume increased by double digit figures. Last year the e-bike sales surged by 13% to 102,083 units. In 2014 the market increased by 37% and by 14.5% in 2013.

Mature French e-bike market

“These figures clearly show how mature the French e-bike market is today,” said Jérôme Valentin of the French industry organization Univelo and managing director of Cycleurope, at the presentation of the 2015 market statistics.

“We do realize that we haven’t reached sales levels like in Germany with a distribution of 535,000 e-bikes last year, but the ongoing sales growth in France makes us optimistic for the future and is a clear indication for the potential of this product category in the future. The reason for the delay of the market penetration by the e-bike can be explained by the fact the urban use of e-bikes in France is limited. However in 2015 we saw the breakthrough of the e-MTB with a 45% sales increase to 8,909 units.”

Looking at the total bicycle sales of close to 3 million units last year, the share of e-bikes stood at only 3.4% in 2015. Last year also the category speed e-bikes showed up for the first time in the French Bicycle Observatory with 495 units.

Import boom

The growing French e-bike market came together with a boom in imports. According to the Bicycle Observatory 81% or 96,807 e-bikes were imported last year. Obviously the leading import countries are China (69%) and the Netherlands (12%). France also saw its e-bike exports surge by 41% to 26,414 units, mainly to Sweden (27%) and Belgium (16%). The output of the French bicycle industry was 65,000 units.

Market volume to increase

Following an exceptionally good 2014, during which bicycle sales rose by 7%, the total market volume of bicycles and e-bike increased by only 0.5%, to a total of 2,996,000 bikes last year. Despite the stable number of new bikes sold, the total turnover on bicycle as well as parts and accessories reached a record level in 2015. The bike sales generated a turnover of €961 million which is 4.5% more compared to 2014.

P&A turnover

The turnover in the parts and accessories market set a new record as well, increasing by 4.5% to €728.9 million. This growth was caused by the fact that the euro depreciated against the US dollar in 2015, which brought about price increases of about the same percentages.

The total French bicycle and parts and accessory market turnover reached €1.7 billion in 2015. Mountain bikes remained the biggest bicycle category in France. With sales totalling 863,000 units the MTB market share rose somewhat, from 28.5% to 28.8%. Other categories performed at about the same levels as in 2015; only road bikes saw a slight increase in sales (3.2%).

The euro depreciation against the US dollar in 2015 causes the average value of a sold bicycle in France to rise from €307 in 2014 to €321 in 2015.

Distribution channels

Also in 2015 sport retail chains like Decathlon and GoSport remained the biggest distribution network for bicycles in terms of volume. They gained a 2% increase in market share to 53%. Supermarkets continue to lose ground in France. They saw their turnover in the sale of new bikes drop by 5.5% and 8.5% for parts and accessory sales.

IBDs increased their turnover by 4.1% and hold a 51% market share in value. They are by far the biggest e-bike sellers with a 75% market share. Web shops are nowadays one of the biggest distribution channels for parts and accessory in France with a market share of 26.5% (+9% in 2015).

Remarkable differences

The distribution of e-bikes in France shows some remarkable differences compared with regular bicycles. On a total market value of € 88.4 million the IBD share, with 75% in value and 64% is volume, is much higher than for regular bikes.

The 14% increase in volume was also bigger than the total market. In the e-bike category the sport retail chains like Decathlon and GoSport have a market share of 15.5% in value and 16% in volume, making them the second biggest distribution channel for bikes.

The supermarkets don’t play a significant role on the e-bike market, but their position has been taken completely by the car dealers. Unlike in any other sales statistics presented by a European bicycle industry organization, the French Bicycle Observatory shows they distribute 20% of all e-bikes in France with a value of 9.5% of the total market.

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