Get off the tram and bus and get on the bike. That is what many people have done in recent months, given the increase in bicycle sales by Dutch and European market leader Accell in terms of turnover.
The company performed well in bicycles, bicycle parts and accessories. For the full year to date, sales were up 16 percent.
Last year, Accell sold 943,000 bicycles and achieved a turnover of 1.1 billion euros. That will certainly increase this year, the company says.
The downside of the bicycle’s sudden success is that bicycle manufacturers are struggling to meet demand. “That’s because the suppliers of components cannot deliver quickly,” says Ton Anbeek, chairman of the board of Accell.
“A saddle from the Italian Selle Royal normally arrives 30 days after the order. Now it takes 150 days. Suppliers have to invest in the expansion, but that will take a while. I expect a lot of disruptions in the near future.”
According to Anbeek, you can therefore have to wait three to six months for a bicycle. “That depends on the model and the parts.”
According to the company with headquarters in Heereveen, in addition to the pandemic, the health trend and European politics to become increasingly ‘greener’ are a reason for the popularity of the two-wheelers.
“It is the solution to problems such as obesity, pollution and the clogging of hot traffic,” the company said.
Accell is also benefiting from the popularity of electric bicycles, the fact that investments are being made in many places in bicycle infrastructure and that there are subsidies and tax benefits for bicycle use.
Anbeek: “In Antwerp, for example, the demand has exploded because a lot of cycling infrastructure has been added and the Flemish government supports the purchase of bicycles.”
He also notices that sporty cycling is becoming increasingly popular with a still small target group. “We see more and more women on the MTB or racing bike. And with corona, cycling was already growing in popularity.”
Also in France and Italy the governments subsidies for refurbishing the old bicycle or the purchase of a new one. And cycling lessons are also given in schools in Italy. According to Accell, now that they are less allowed to go on holiday, people are also faster on their bikes for an outing.
The growth in turnover is particularly strong in the more expensive e-bikes and cargo bikes. The latter are also sold commercially, for example for postmen and pizza couriers.
Butter with the fish
It is difficult to say whether the sales will continue structurally, according to mobility professor Marco Te Brömmelstroet of the University of Amsterdam.
“But it is an important signal to our policymakers. We can use this crisis and this momentum to really make a transition to a healthier and more sustainable mobility system. But then we have to add butter. If that does not happen, stand by. However, we will soon meet again in our lease cars on the way to the office. “
Anbeek is optimistic about this, however. He sees electrification, more bicycle infrastructure and government support for the purchase as something that has a lasting effect. “The pandemic and the green politics of the European Union especially strengthen it.”