German and Dutch bike markets revitalized after brief downturns

German and Dutch bike markets revitalized after brief downturns

Both Germany and the Netherlands have thriving e-bike market, driven by strong consumer demand, supportive infrastructure, and government incentives.

Germany’s market is characterized by a preference for high-quality and feature-rich e-bikes, while the Netherlands leads in per capita ownership, with a focus on practical, everyday use models.

In both countries, ongoing innovations and policies promoting sustainable transport are expected to continue driving market growth.

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    German bike market returns after sales decline

    The market is slowly recovering

    The decline in bicycle and e-bike sales experienced by Germany in 2023 is a one-off event, writes the German Retail Research Institute (IFH) in its annual market study. According to IFH, demand will pick up moderately in the future, starting in 2024.

    The German Retail Institute (IFH) is cautiously optimistic about the outlook for the bicycle market.

    Given that the surge in sales during the new coronavirus outbreak will not last, current market concerns focus on whether the decline in sales in 2023 is just part of a market correction or a new downward trend.

    The market is slowly recovering

    However, based on IFH’s research, we can determine that the reason is not the latter.

    For the 2024 outlook, experts from both IFH and BBE Retail Consulting expect a slight upward trend in sales. They further predict a gradual recovery of the market over the next few years until 2028, which is expected to achieve a positive average annual growth rate of up to about 4%.

    Bicycle dealers are currently facing the problem of high inventory, which leads them to sometimes have to promote their inventory by drastically reducing prices. This situation is currently putting pressure mainly on manufacturers, who are facing a decline in order intake.

    However, Christoph Lamsfuß, senior consultant at the German retail research institute IFH, says: “The market will gradually stabilize and achieve sustained growth over the next few years.”

    German bike market returns after sales decline

    The peak to fall back was in line with expectations

    Looking back to 2022, the German bicycle market recorded a sales value of about €10.8 billion. However, after years of growth, the sector’s upward trend was interrupted for the first time in 2023, with the market declining by 5.2% compared to the previous year.

    However, the downward trend in sales is still generally considered by the industry to be relatively modest and in line with market expectations, given the oversupply of commodities in the market, coupled with the impact of the COVID-19 on market demand.

    And it has led to an increase in market saturation. and that the industry will return to normal soon after a good start to 2024 and a reduction in inventories.

    E-bikes and the company’s bike rental products, as well as increasing store orders, continue to have a positive impact.

    The peak to fall back was in line with

    Saturation of e-bike sales

    In terms of the e-bike market, IFH notes that despite sales reaching a saturation point by 2023, the high volume of e-bikes is having a positive impact on sales of bicycle accessories, such as cell phone mounts, navigation systems, helmets, and spare parts, resulting in an increase in demand for these products.

    In addition, regular service appointments for e-bike riders are creating growth opportunities for related industries.

    This view coincides with a market report published by the German bicycle industry organization VSF, which notes that about 70% of its members expect sales development to remain neutral or positive in 2024, while 74% of bicycle dealers (IBDs) expect their inventory levels to return to normal by the end of the season.

    Overall, the German bicycle and e-bike market is expected to maintain steady growth over the next few years, despite a short correction. Market participants also need to proactively adjust their strategies to cope with the current market situation while seizing future growth opportunities.

    Saturation of e-bike sales

    Dutch bicycle market revitalized

    After a sharp decline in 2023, the Dutch retail market saw a partial rebound in the first quarter of 2024. Compared to the same period last year, turnover increased by 5.2% in the first three months of 2024.

    However, it is worth noting that revenues in the same period last year were down 10% compared to the same period the year before, mainly due to the high base effect caused by the surge in sales in 2022.

    Weather boosts turnover

    According to H&L benchmarking data, in January this year, the retailer achieved only a slight increase in sales of 1.9% compared to the same period in 2023, and by February, the growth rate was only 1.6%.

    However, with the arrival of pleasant spring weather in March, turnover growth suddenly accelerated to a remarkable 9.6%.

    The German market, as described above, showed a similar trend. In its annual market study, the Cologne-based Institute for Retail Research (IFH) says the decline in bike and e-bike sales in Germany in 2023 is temporary.

    According to IFH’s forecast, market demand will again show moderate growth from 2024 onwards.

    Weather boosts turnover

    Clearance sale shock

    The Dutch bicycle market experienced a slight correction in 2023, slipping slightly from 833,366 units in 2022 to 804,101 units last year, a decline of about 6%.

    Despite the drop in sales volume, overall revenue fell by only 3.7% between 2022 and 2023 to €1.4 billion due to higher average retail prices.

    It is worth noting that the revenues covered by the H&L Benchmarking Report are not limited to the total turnover of bicycles, but also include revenues related to accessory sales, service, and workshop repairs.

    The Dutch retailer achieved impressive results in the first quarter of 2024, with its average margin rising to 13.8% of turnover, an increase compared to the same period last year.

    However, the main challenge is whether and to what extent this margin will be hit in the coming months due to clearance sales.

    Clearance sale shock

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