A look at Germany’s streets shows that the bike is one of the Corona winners. The increased demand is also noticeable on the bicycle market. Specialty shops reported a rush of customers and long lines in May. Many have already offset the financial losses from the lockdown. According to a survey by the industry association “Verbund Service und Fahrrad”, more than half of manufacturers and dealers are already expecting annual sales like in 2019 – or even more.
However, the Germans didn’t get on the bike because of the pandemic and the lockdown it caused. Already in 2019, the bicycle industry recorded an increase in sales of 4.2 billion euros – an increase of more than a third compared to the previous year. The changed everyday life in Corona times, however, is fueling demand to date.
“In the shutdown time, people spent twice as much time on their bikes as before, and the proportion of bikes in total traffic tripled,” summarizes the Allgemeine Deutsche Fahrrad Club (ADFC). The fear of contagion plays an important role in public transport, the consulting firm McKinsey sums up in an analysis. The bicycle as a virus-free alternative to commuting and on vacation is a popular option.
Certain models “not available”
In the meantime, the boom is also causing initial bottlenecks. “Certain bike models are not available, this may vary from region to region,” says VSF Managing Director Albert Herresthal. “If you are looking for a good bike, you will find one. Just maybe not exactly what he imagined. ”E-bikes, children’s and climbing bikes are currently in particular demand. “There are now many interested parties for high-quality bikes that can be used for travel,” says Herresthal.
The reason for the bottlenecks are the international supply chains. Since the shutdown in Asia in mid-February, there have been interruptions and disruptions. Herresthal also reports of “delays”. “If bicycle products were ordered in China or Taiwan that were to be brought to Europe by container ship, this container ship is equipped with a wide variety of items. If something is missing from another branch that has nothing to do with bicycles and the ship is half full – then it doesn’t go, ”he explains.
This also affects production. “Since then it has only been possible to produce with difficulty or not at all and the sale could not be guaranteed,” explains David Eisenberger from the Zweirad-Industrie-Verband e.V. “The stores of the bicycle dealers were already full due to the pre-orders from the dealers before Corona. Due to the production downtimes, the production planning is gone. “