Polish bicycle market – Poles buy more bikes than carsPublished: 14.08.2014
Poland has been experiencing a bicycle boom in recent years: More and more cities set up their bicycle sharing systems and Warsaw's Veturilo is considered one of the best such systems in the world. Bicycles account for 5% of all journeys within the nation's capital, according to a recent report by the WHO and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
In 2013 alone Poles bought over one million bicycles, more than passenger cars according to data from stats office GUS. As a result, the value of the bicycle market was estimated at PLN 1.02 bln.
Of the PLN 1.02 bln total, PLN 900 mln was generated on the primary market and PLN 120 mln on the market of used bicycles, according to a report on Poland's bicycle market drafted by the Polish Bicycle Association (PSR) in cooperation with the IPC research institute.
Data from stats office GUS are consistent with the findings of the PSR report. „Market research on the development and output of the biking industry showed that 1.28 mln bicycles were sold in Poland in 2013. This figure includes bicycles produced in Poland, net exports, some 100k bikes manufactured by small producers not included in any statistical sources, as well as ca. 180k of used bikes. Poland's production volume in 2013 amounted to 950k bikes,” PSR researchers wrote.
The picture of Poland's bicycle market
The growth of Poland’s bicycle industry is supported by frequent bike usage by Poles. The biggest group of respondents (40%) declare that they ride a bike every day. One in three (31%) claims to use it several times a week. One in twenty persons (5%) pointed to the seasonal character of their cycling activity, and half of respondents in this group (2.5%) claim to ride bikes on a daily basis in the warm months, the PSR report reads.
Bottom shelf bikes continue to constitute the biggest segment of the market: As many as one third of bicycles purchased in Poland cost less than PLN 600. On the other hand, 12% of bicycles cost more than PLN 3k. Specialist high-quality bikes such as racing bicycles, hardtail mountain bikes (with front amortization only) and full-suspension mountain bikes dominate this group. Still, city bikes and tourist bikes remain the most popular choice.
Poles buy their bikes most often in one of three thousand bike shops and bicycle sales points, PSR data show.
„Over half of respondents (51%) who bought a bicycle last year purchased them in a specialist bicycle store. General sports stores (13%) and superstores (11%) are significantly less popular in this respect,” the report reads.
Growing sales push forward production, which continues to post strong growth rates. Last year's production of 950k bikes ranked Poland #4 in Europe. Only Italy, Germany and the Netherlands produce more bikes, while production in France is on par with Poland.
According to GUS data, Poland's May 2014 bicycle production (including children's bikes), reached precisely 106k items, which translated to a 42% y/y increase. In the first five months of 2014 production reached the level of 548k bikes, which means a 12.2% increase over the corresponding period of 2013.
Two thirds of Poland's production comes from production plants of two firms: Kross and Arkus&Romet. Romet is Poland's biggest producer of bicycles: it holds a 40% market share according to the 2013 data from the Polish Automotive Industry Association.
Stable exports and imports of Polish bikes
Exports and imports of Polish bikes remain stable: in 2013 exports reached PLN 276.4 mln, a 1% growth compared to 2012, while imports rose by 1.2% y/y last year.
Polish bicycle producers export their products mainly to Germany: The value of exports to this country reached PLN 168 mln in 2013, accounting for 60% of total export of bicycles. However, Polish producers are also looking for clients on Asian markets, whose importance for domestic producers is growing. Romet's entry to the Chinese market may constitute an example.
„We produce some 400k bicycles annually, of which 40% is exported, mainly to European countries. However, we are continuously looking for new, promising markets and China surely seems to be a great choice,” Arkus & Romet CEO Wieslaw Grzyb was cited as saying during the bicycle industry fair which took place in Shanghai in April.
Taiwan remains the biggest exporter of bikes and bicycle parts to Poland: it sold nearly 55k bicycles worth almost PLN 41 mln. Portugal is the second-biggest exporter, with sales of 48k bikes worth PLN 25 mln.
Source - Polish Press Agency, Economic Service