In 2022, the Italian bicycle and components manufacturing market saw a growth of 10% to reach a value of 2 billion euros. The Italian banking institution Ifas stated in its annual report that the turnover of the bicycle industry and the market net value have grown in tandem, forming a robust ‘bicycle ecosystem.’
While Italy isn’t the largest bicycle producer in Europe, data shows that Italy’s bicycle industry net profit increased from 6% in 2020 to 11% in 2022. Since 2020, the Return on Equity (ROE) has more than doubled, reaching 13% in 2022. This growth is attributed to the continuous rise in electric bicycle sales.
According to the Italian Industry Association ANCMA, the market share of electric bicycles is projected to grow by 4% in 2022. Bicycle sales in Italy grew by 18% last year, reaching 3.2 billion euros, with a total of 1.772 million units sold. Among these, traditional bicycles accounted for 1.435 million units, a decrease of 15%, while electric bicycles accounted for 337,000 units, an increase of 14%. Despite the decline in mechanical bicycle sales, the high-profit margin of electric bicycles has elevated the overall profitability of the bicycle industry.
Due to the rapid growth in the market share of electric bicycles, Italy’s trade balance increased by 28% last year. Between 2019 and 2022, electric bicycle production averaged an annual growth of 21.3%. During the same period, mechanical bicycle production experienced a slight average decrease of 3.1%. Banca Ifas forecasts a 2% growth in exports for 2023, reaching 23% of the industry’s total turnover.
Bicycle prices have also fluctuated accordingly. The fastest increase in average bicycle import prices in Italy occurred in November 2022, with a month-on-month growth of 59%. In January 2023, the peak was reached at an average import price of $857, before gradually decreasing. By February 2023, the average import price had dropped to $767 per bicycle, although still at a relatively high level.
Research indicates that Italy’s bicycle industry is concentrated in the northern regions, where 56% of companies are located. This region contributes 80% to the total national production of bicycles and their components, resulting in a well-integrated bicycle industry chain. The domestic supply chain is mostly sufficient to meet manufacturing demands. However, semi-finished materials and components for production still require foreign imports. The primary reasons for importing these materials and components are either Italy lacking their manufacturing products (39%) or the more competitive pricing of imported products (36%). Some companies also import high-tech or high-quality products from abroad. For instance, 50% of bicycle frames, 41% of chains and chainwheels, 38% of brakes, and 38% of front forks used in bicycle components are imported.
In comparison to components, the import of complete bicycles in Italy has shown a clear downward trend. In 2022, Italy’s bicycle import scale significantly contracted, importing 514,000 units, a decrease of 18.7% from the previous year. While 2021 experienced the fastest import growth at 38%, after reaching a peak of 632,000 units, imports began to decline. In terms of value, bicycle imports in 2022 decreased to $212 million. Between 2019 and 2022, the annual average growth of imports amounted to 2.5%. The import value in 2021 increased by 37% compared to the previous year, reaching $231 million.
There are also notable differences in the average prices among supplying countries for complete bicycle imports. From February 2022 to February 2023, Romania’s prices increased most significantly by 14.8%, while other countries showed more moderate growth trends.
Italy ranks among the top bicycle exporters in Europe. For three consecutive years, France has been the primary destination for Italian bicycle exports, accounting for 43% of total exports. This is three times the exports to the second-largest destination, Spain, and Germany follows as the third-largest export country, with an 8.8% share.