Croatian Bicycle Exports Increase as Global Bike Market Explodes

June the 5th, 2021 - Croatian bicycle exports have shot up as people choose a more active and outdoor-oriented lifestyle as a result of the ongoing public health crisis taking the world by storm.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, the bicycle business is becoming very profitable due to the consumption that exploded with the onset of the pandemic, even causing a shortage on the global market, but European manufacturers, especially Italian ones, are facing a dilemma as to whether to risk things and invest in new capacities, and they are cautious because they estimate that such interest could last two more years.

All bicycle manufacturers across the world are facing a big problem with the supply of the necessary key parts for bike production, such as gears and gearboxes, even for the well-known Japanese manufacturer Shimano, which meets as much as two thirds of the world's needs.

So far, manufacturers have been waiting for four months for the delivery of the ordered quantities from Shimano, and now that time has been increased to one year. A solution is sought in collaboration with other manufacturers to increase production.

Demand is growing

Statistics also show a massive increase in general demand for bicycles - from the United States, where demand jumped 120 percent, and the United Kingdom, having jumped to 45 percent, and according to Eurostat data, trade in bicycles is growing across EU member states, especially in trade for electric versions.

43 percent more bikes were exported than in 2019, almost 274 thousand of them with a total value of 427 million euros, while their imports were at the same time higher by 19 percent, and more than 839 thousand, worth 721 million euros in total, were imported.

Exports of "classic" bicycles produced in the EU also grew by as much as 35 percent, a total of 1.3 million worth 471 million euros were exported, while imports, unlike the overall global trend, were about 3 percent below the level of the previous year. This is a large amount - the import of almost 5 million bicycles worth 930 million euros.

The main market for European bicycles of all types, pedal and electric, was the United Kingdom, where more than a third were sold, and Switzerland, while almost a quarter of imported "classic" came from Cambodia, and more than half of electric bicycles are imported from Taiwan.

When it comes to Croatia, last year, according to Eurostat data, we imported 86 percent more bicycles, a total of 16.4 thousand worth 1.5 million euros, and Croatian bicycle exports increased by 122 percent - 1.7 thousand bikes worth half a million euros were exported.

An unsurprising lack of incentives in Croatia

When it comes to electric bikes, both Croatian bicycle exports and imports decreased when compared to pre-pandemic 2019, but their financial value is significantly higher. It is also interesting to note that in this case, the export realisation is higher than that of the imports - 354 electric bicycles worth 272 thousand euros were exported, and 286 worth 182 thousand euros were imported.

There are several producers who have entered this niche here in Croatia - Mate Rimac, and the young innovator Mate Ljubicic from Runovic. The demand for electric bicycles in this country would probably also grow quite significantly if people were granted incentives as part of encouraging e-mobility.

Last year, and this year as well, in the recently published public invitation of the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency, no non-refundable support is provided for the purchase of electric bicycles among electric vehicles.

However, regardless of the fact that the state decided to exclude bicycles in relation to other categories of vehicles, the example of the Italian city of Rome proves that there are other forms of incentives to be offered - such as up to 500 euros for the purchase of all types of bicycles.

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