Cycling is booming. Last year, more than 490,000 bicycles were sold in Austria and the turnover of specialist shops rose to more than one billion euros. Demand is uninterrupted this year, but sales are declining. The traditionally good Easter trade came to a standstill due to empty warehouses. Children are especially affected.
“More people than ever come with their children and want to buy a bicycle. But they don’t get anything,” says Michael Knopf, owner of Radwelt in Mattersburg. Colleague Dietmar Rainer from 2Rad Rainer in Oberpullendorf put it more precisely: “I used to have 80 percent of the ordered goods in the store well before Easter. This year a fraction.”
The main reason thousands of children are without a traditional Easter gift this year is delivery problems due to the corona pandemic. In Asia in particular, there were production stops of several weeks. According to Rainer, the companies cannot catch up. “As for the repair material, the situation is almost worse. The waiting time is almost a year.”
Knopf is concerned that the current lockdown in Shanghai could dramatically worsen the situation. That is why he has already ordered wheels in the four-digit range, which are to be delivered in 2024. “With the adult models, we can get through that halfway through, we’re well sorted. But it looks really bad for the kids.”
Both specialist dealers believe that the situation will not change next year. “There is bad news almost every day,” says Knopf. “First Corona, then there’s a ship across the Suez Canal, now the war in Ukraine – obviously the wheels will cost more because of that.”
Industry-leading commodities such as steel and aluminum have increased in price by more than 40 percent in the past 12 months and container costs have tripled. In the previous year, the average price per bicycle was 2095 euros – 18.4 percent more than in 2020.
I’m Wayne Wickman, a professional journalist and author for Today Times Live. My specialty is covering global news and current events, offering readers a unique perspective on the world’s most pressing issues. I’m passionate about storytelling and helping people stay informed on the goings-on of our planet.