The Indian bicycle market is expected to grow significantly in the near future due to increasing adoption of premium bicycles apart from standard ones, according to the India Bicycle Market Outlook, 2021. The entry of foreign firms will be a propellant. The major domestic companies like Hero Cycles, TI Cycles, Avon Cycles, and Atlas are making efforts to grab the market through intelligent innovations in this segment.
According to the bicycle makers lobby, only 90 out of 1,000 people in India own bicycles, compared with 149 out of every 1,000 in China and 400 out of every 1,000 in the US. The Indian bicycle industry is also facing serious challenges in terms of meeting the domestic demand and staying competitive globally. Though being the second largest cycle manufacturing country, India accounts for a small portion of the global bicycle sales’ market.
I.K.Rohit, CEO and Co-Founder of ChooseMyBicycle.com, informed BE, “The Indian market for bicycles has been changing rapidly over the past decade. The consumer’s preferences across age groups have seen a dramatic shift which has forced the industry to accelerate its innovation, design and technology, while keeping in mind that India has always been a price sensitive market. The key dynamics that drive and determine the Indian bicycle market are innovation along with price.”
The bicycle manufacturing hub of India at Ludhiana is stagnating due to lack of innovation. The state government has pitched in to facilitate collaborations between Chinese and Indian companies to manufacture state-of-the-art bicycles in Ludhiana. The plan is to set up the world’s largest, high-end, electric bicycle manufacturing facility with a capacity of 15 million cycles per year.
The hi-end bicycle segment is new to the Indian bicycle industry. In the past few years, it has gained a market share of 6 % of the 6 million standard bicycles sold every year in India. Shiv Inder Singh, Managing Director of Firefox Bikes said, “Currently the market volumes around 350,000 high-end bikes and by 2020 this figure would likely to touch the one million mark. The majority of the high-end bicycles are imported and distributed by popular international brands.”
According to the data provided by ChooseMyBicycle, the top five destinations in terms of bicycles sales are Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra. The overall market is growing at around 2 to 3% on a yearly basis, while the ‘Super premium’ bicycle category is growing at 25-30%.
The Indian bicycle market grew with a CAGR of just 1.04% from 2010 to 2015. At present, the trend of premium bicycle is emerging in India and therefore, the major domestic players are making efforts to grab this space.
Premium bicycles segment is expected to grab about 7% of the total bicycle market in India by 2021. The data from domestic cycle manufactures show that in 2012-13 India produced around 15.5 million bicycles out of which 12 million bicycles were sold.
The export market for Indian manufacturers is fairly small compared to other bicycle exporting markets. The export market is still dominated by China, followed by other South East Asia and ASEAN countries. “India still does not have the cost and technology advantage over China and other exporting countries, to be competitive in the world markets. Indian companies export to few countries in Africa, where the basic Roadster models (Standard cycles) are sold. In the past few years, there have been exports of entry level children’s bicycles to certain countries in Europe which have imposed anti-dumping laws that restrict Chinese products,” said I.K. Rohit.
Bicycle is the most affordable, environment-friendly, and healthy mode of short distance transportation. In order to boost the industry, the government can negotiate with the European Union for Most Preferred Nation status for export of bicycles to Europe. The government needs to focus on infrastructure development in cities to promote cycling. Under a green initiative, the government should promote cycling as an environment-friendly means of transport, thereby reducing congestion and pollution, especially in big cities.
In 2015, Hero Cycles, the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer, partnered with International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA), for a cause and launched its ‘Cycling Heroes’ campaign that promoted the use of cycling for good health. In the Netherlands, Germany, and the UK, there are designated cycling lanes, which if implemented in India, can ease its urban traffic woes.