The Spanish market of the bicycle is experiencing a revolution with the advent of electric models that assist the pedaling. “It is a technology that enables lots of people to come to the bike”, indicated by telephone Remigio Rovira, owner of Vadebicis in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the president of the Spanish Association of the Trade Specialised Retail of the Bike (ATEBI). And its impact is being felt in all sectors: the spaniards are not only looking for machines with pedal assist to go to work, but also to go for a walk by the mountain. “The 20% of the sport bikes that we sell are already electric,” says explains Jon Fernandez, managing director of Orbea, one of the manufacturers most traditional of Spain.

The revolution, however, has its negative side. According to a report by Cetelem for the Association of Brands and Bicycles of Spain (AMBE), the electric only represents 6.5% of sales (72.025 units last year), its growth, more than 78% with respect to 2016, is being at the expense of other products, such as the mountain bike traditional (whose sales decreased by 6.8% in the last year) and the road (decreased 9%). Although the average price of machines pedal assist (2,107 out euros), far above the 680 euros it costs half a mountain or 248 euros from the urban, the past year the number of bicycles sold grew in absolute terms a parco 0.1% and the turnover grew um and 4.8%, half a point less than in the previous year. That is to say, the market that you win hardly compensates for the lost.

in Addition to the expansion of the electric bike, there are other factors that explain the demand does not grow at the same force that in the past few years. “With the greatest disposable income and the growth of private consumption, the bicycle and cycling have become to enter in competition with other options of leisure and sport”, pointed to by e-mail Carlos Núñez, secretary general of AMBE. “This has put in the disparadero what is already revealed as a glut of stores and brands”. “I don’t think that there is a saturation of the market,” countered Javier Vasallo, commercial director at Decathlon Spain.

beginning in 2008, many fans became his passion in business

keep in mind that the industry is leaving behind few years extraordinary. In absolute figures, the last year sold more than 1.1 million bicycles in the country. The market place is 1.623 million euros, almost a quarter of all the sector of sports equipment and ahead of most popular sports such as football, basketball, or tennis. In addition, public Authorities are encouraging the use of the bike to promote sustainable mobility.

In Spain, the sector is very fragmented (with 375 companies, of which 208 are manufacturers) and over 3,000 shops, and workshops for cyclists who are spread out all over the country. “When the crisis, a lot of people that I had the cycling as a hobby he decided to open a store,” says Rovira. According to the report of AMBE and Cetelem, in 2017 the number of stores opened fell by somewhat more than 1.5%, and that figure could decrease even more this year.

profit Margins

The difficulties faced by small businesses come from two directions. On the one hand, the competition is hurting profit margins. “Necessarily, the shops have had to enter into price wars and discounts looking for your survival that, in many cases, is ending with closures business”, says Núñez. “Without knowing even why, all, vendors, and customers, come into the game”. “The client is expected to input a rebate of 10% to 15%,” adds Marc Aráez, Berria, a small manufacturer of sport bikes from Ossa de Montiel (Albacete).

on the other hand, the electrification and the new technologies they are incorporating to the bicycle, as well as the digitalization of the retail trade, involving a revolution that not all of the shops and workshops you may face. The president of ATEBI recognizes that “the traditional store has to change” and that the trend of the market is to turn the shops into something more like car dealers, specialized in a product and brand specific. “In the end, you have to be able to offer additional layers of experience and service offering is an intangible that the public can appreciate and value,” notes Fernández. “You have to let them understand that the provision of the product hard will diminish the extent to which it reduces its role of prescription”.

unlike in other sectors, the competition of the larger stores and shops multisport don’t worry too much: by value, the traditional shops are carrying eight of each ten euros spent on a new bike. “They are focusing more on the sale of material input to the cycling, while the specialty shops focus on selling more technical and higher value”, said Núñez. “However, this may not be always true, because the strings are raising the technical level and quality of their proposals to build customer loyalty and retaining these customers first”. “I think there is to listen a Jojobet lot to the user and to adapt very quickly to that demand”, indicates the Vassal. “I am convinced that the market will continue to evolve strongly in the coming years and to be at the side of the consumer will be key.”

The traditional retail and department stores, more than compete, they complement

According to Rovira, the traditional trade has two points in its favor that may facilitate the adaptation. “On the one hand, to our hobbies, the Spanish are very marquistas”, he says. “On the other, it is a world that is very technological. Buy it’s complicated if you don’t have it very clear, and need a lot of advice.” “The customer who knows the brands and models research online, speak with magazines and with friends and buy in shop”, considers Aráez. “You are interested in finding the best price between the models that have been pre-selected, that is why it is so important to have good web pages. In the case of a segment more amateur left still advised by the prescriber, or distributor of the store.”

The industrial sector has also grown in parallel to the rise of sales. “For years the industry of all of Europe moved en masse to Asia, although a few remained in production in countries such as Portugal, Slovakia, Romania and even Germany and the Netherlands,” recalls Núñez. “Now we have begun to see initiatives to return the production to Europe”. According to the United Nations, european exports have gone from a 22% of the global total in 2002 to 30% in 2016, to the detriment of Asia and North America. This has been achieved despite the unfair competition of the chinese manufacturers. The past month of July, the European Commission decided to take anti-dumping measures, in some cases, undergoes an some producers in the asian country to a tariff of extraordinary 83%.

Match the demand

But it is not the only factor that has driven the manufacturers to return. “The productions were thin to bring them closer to the continuous changes of preference of the demand,” says Núñez. “We have to be cautious and calculating in productions for which the offer will not cause increases in the discounts in the shops”, points Aráez.

In Spain, the industry gives work to more than 8,000 people, and although it is historically concentrated in the Basque Country (where it emerged as a complement to the small metal local, especially weapons manufacturers) the majority of the firms (44%) are established in Catalonia. “It has maintained production of about 350,000 bikes a year, although highly concentrated in a handful of companies”,

The question is, again, if a sector as fragmented will be able to withstand the change of focus of the demand towards the electrification. Only in 2017, was founded 17 new signatures. “Ours is an industry with few barriers to entry”, reiterates Fernández, which he gives as an example his own company: “We want to offer a differential value: we want to become the world reference in custom product, where customers choose the color and the components of each bike. We have understood that this is a trend where we can stay.” And he concludes: “The sector does not enjoy ill-health and the future prospects are good. Those who are really out of conviction and with a desire for permanence, we will be able to follow.”

Technology for mobility and enjoyment

The increase in the value of the bicycle contribute to technological developments such as the accelerometers, the chunky tires and the interconnection with mobile applications. “Within the most of recreational cycling, there is a current increasingly in demand who want to enjoy on the bike and experience new sensations,” points out Javier Vasallo, Decathlon.

But where more potential there is in the urban mobility, and hence, the industry calls for a greater public momentum. “The use of the bicycle has increased substantially where it has been combined effective action of promoting and raising awareness, with investments in infrastructure cyclists safe segregated traffic engine”, said Núñez. “But the legislature in the local authorities which ends in 2019 should have brought greater political courage on the part of some administrations that, in principle, were more committed to the promotion of the bicycle”.

“For us, just someone to ride a bike is a good news,” notes Fernández. “But the bike private also has its place, and here the public authorities have work to do. If the great challenge is to get people out of their car and onto a bike, you have to think how to do that. And a bike that is worth between 3,000 and 4,000 euros can’t stop on a streetlight”.