Dahon sold 90 000 folding bikes in the first half of 2003 compared to 65 000 units in the first half of 2002.
“2003 has been a difficult year for the global economy generally and the bicycle industry specifically, so for us to post these types of numbers is a credit to our strategy and our team here at Dahon.” said Dr. David Hon, Dahon president and founder.
“Folding bikes have been a tough sell in this industry for most of the 20 years that we’ve been at this but I think we’ve finally turned a corner in market perception. Dealers and consumers are finally realising that folding bicycles have a lot of utility and fill a useful niche in the market.”
Dahon has witnessed sales growth across its major geographic markets and at all price points. In more developed countries, the growth has been more at the middle and high price points. In developing countries like China, the growth has been at the lower price points.
“We’ve seen growth in all of our major markets, but the odd thing is that the reasons for the sales boom in each country are slightly different” said Dr. Hon.
“In Japan, a lot of Japanese distributors bought boat loads of cheap folding bikes in 2002 and have had lots of quality and patent problems. Now they want to switch to a higher quality supplier and that’s where we come in. The same goes for the China market.
"In the UK, our sales have skyrocketed because of the London Congestion Charge and the attendant focus it has brought on alternative transport. And in the US, our sales spiked sharply after the bombing of September 11 – more people want to live a simpler lifestyle and others want the security of transportation that they can count on in any kind of disaster.”
Folding bicycles will eventually occupy approximately 20 percent of the bicycle market worldwide, believes Dahon. In Japan, folding bicycle sales hover at about 5-7% of the market and in China and Taiwan, sales are in the single digit percentages and climbing rapidly.
“The exciting thing is that as good as 2003 was, 2004 is shaping up to be a real breakthrough year for folding bikes,” stated Dr. Hon. “A few years down the road, we may all look back on 2004 as the year that folding bikes really hit the mainstream. With many economies on the upswing, the uncertainty of war and SARS over, our best product line-up ever, and several major new partners, we’re expecting pretty good results.”