Setback for bicycle manufacturers

13/09/2004 10:00

Bicycle manufacturers in the Netherlands are also suffering the consequences of the economic setback. While the value of output of this sector doubled to 427 million euro in the period 1993-2000, by 2003 it had fallen to 410 million euro. On a brighter note, after two lean years, bicycle exports recovered substantially in 2003.

Production value of bicycles

Production value of bicycles

No further effect of product innovations

In the years 1990-2000 the bicycle industry did very well out of innovations such as ATB and hybrid bikes, which pushed up output values strongly in this period. However, the effects of these new products have now petered out, and moreover bicycle exports have also dropped sharply since 2000. In 2000 735 thousand bikes were exported, in 12001 and 2002 this was around 435 thousand. Exports did recover in 2003, to 622 thousand bikes representing a value of 217 million euro.

Share of touring bikes in total production value of bicycles

Share of touring bikes in total production value of bicycles

Touring bike losing ground

The traditionally important category of touring bikes is losing ground to other types of bicycle. While the total production value of bicycles in 2003 was about double that of 1993, the production value of traditional touring bikes remained at the same level. The share of touring bikes in the total output was thus half that in 1993. This share has been stable at between 25 and 20 percent in recent years. Other types of bicycle have taken the place of the traditional touring model, especially ATBs, hybrid and trekking bikes.

Bicycle imports and exports

Bicycle imports and exports

The Netherlands: net bicycle importer

For years now bicycle imports into the Netherlands have exceeded exports. In 2003, 767 thousand bicycles were imported into the Netherlands with a value of 115 million euro, while 622thousand bikes were exported . Bicycle imports rose by nearly 20 percent compared with 2002, while exports rose by as much as nearly 50 percent.
More than half of bicycles imported in 2003 came from Asia, particularly from China and Taiwan. Since 1990 the imports of bikes from Asian countries has increased substantially.
More than 98 percent of Dutch bicycle exports are destined for other countries in Europe. The two neighbouring countries are the main customers: more than half of exported bikes go to Germany, and Belgium comes second accounting for nearly 20 percent of exported bicycles.

Leon Stroeks and Wiel Packbier