The high cost of fuel and car maintenance led thousands of Greeks to use a bicycle for their everyday transport needs in 2011 – with sales up by some 30 percent – though the trend was reversed this year.
In the period from 2008 to 2011 some 800,000 bikes were sold in Greece, with total turnover exceeding 50 million euros, according to estimates. Yet despite the sector’s momentum, this year has not brought similar growth as in the first quarter of 2012 turnover has shown a 25 percent decline from Q1 in 2011 – a development that has been attributed to an especially cold winter between January and March.
Meanwhile, the drop in demand has brought the average market price down by 50 percent, with the cost of a bicycle now ranging from 250-500 euros, compared to 350-800 euros a couple of years ago.
According to Constantinos Stamatakis, marketing director at Praktiker, the popularity of bicycles has led to 40 new bicycle stores opening in Athens and 30 in Thessaloniki in the last few months alone.