Top 10 European bike markets in 2016

Latest figures show that it’s tight at the top as Europe’s bike market grows

Top 10 European bike markets in 2016

WE'VE just got our hands on the latest motorcycle registration figures from around Europe and the good news is that bike sales are on the up so far in 2016.

The sales figures for the first three months of 2016 show that Europe’s bike market is growing fast. Overall sales of powered two and three wheelers – including mopeds and scooters – are up by 6.5%. Figures show that some 267,667 bikes were registered in January, February and March, compared to 251,420 in the same period last year.

And many of the larger, more established markets, which are generally in the wealthier regions of Europe, are actually outperforming that continent-wide figure. Large bikes rather than mopeds are also driving the growth; if separated, motorcycle sales have increased by 7.8% (from 190,429 to 201,258) compared to just a 2.8% for mopeds (60,991 in the first quarter of 2015, 62,409 in the same period of 2016.)

But which is the biggest market overall? You might be surprised to find just how close the figures are at the top of the chart, and that the overall leader has changed since last year.

10. Greece

With 5,803 new registrations in the first quarter of 2016, Greece has seen an increase of only 3.5% - that’s less than the continent’s average but growth nonetheless in a country that’s generally been making headlines about its economic woes for the last few years.

9. Poland

While a three-month registration total of 6,677 is well clear of Greece, Poland’s bike market hasn’t got much to celebrate. The same period last year enjoyed 9,132 sales, so there’s been a drop of 26.9%. Interestingly, the country’s figure for ‘proper’ bikes aren’t so bad – at 3,731 they’re only 8.9% down on last year – but moped sales have declined an amazing 41.5% from 5,035 in the first quarter of 2015 to 2,946 in the same period this year. Poland is the only nation on this list that’s seen a decline, though.

8. Austria

Powered two wheeler sales of 7,684 mean a modest 4.4% growth for Austria, but again it’s better news on the large bike front, where sales are up by 7.6%. A slight dip (0.6%) in moped sales drags the overall average down.

7. Belgium

2016 first-quarter registrations of 8,943 propel Belgium to seventh place, with an overall growth of 5.9% since the same period in 2015. As elsewhere, bigger bikes are driving the growth with registrations up an impressive 12.8% from 5,670 to 6393. Moped sales have dropped by 8.1% from 2,776 to 2,550.

6. Netherlands

Enough with those piffling four-figure sales. Now we’re getting up to the serious bike markets; the Netherlands might only be one place above Belgium but it achieves nearly twice the motorcycle sales. In the first quarter of this year, 16,432 bikes were registered there, up 5.3% on 2015. Again, big bikes were up 12.8%, but they account for a relatively small proportion of the market, only making 3,581 sales. Mopeds accounted for 12,851 registrations, up 3.3%.

5. UK

With 27,395 registrations in the first three months of 2016, UK sales are nearly twice those of the next largest country. And in complete contrast to the Netherlands we’ve got a market that’s almost entirely made of proper bikes instead of mopeds. In fact, UK moped sales are lower than any nation on this list, accounting for just 1,876 of the registrations so far this year. The overall market is up 7.6%, beating the European average. Big bikes are up 8.5%, mopeds down by 2.9%.

4. Spain

This time last year the Spanish and UK markets were virtually neck-and-neck, but in the first three months of 2016 Spain has pulled ahead with 13.5% growth taking it to 31,679 registrations. Larger bikes are again responsible for the increase, with 28,528 sold in the first three months that part of the market has grown by 15.5%, while moped sales have dropped 2.3% to 3,151.

3. France

A year ago, France headed the list of motorcycle registrations in Europe with 49,264, but it’s grown by only 0.5% to 49,505 in the first three months of 2016, dropping it two places in the rankings. Large bikes are up 0.8% at 33,732, mopeds down by 0.1% to 15,773, but basically the French market hasn’t altered since this time last year.

2. Italy

It may have only jumped from third to second place in the chart, but Italy was way behind the leading two countries a year ago and has shown by far the largest growth. Overall sales are up 21.5% from 40,815 to 49,748 in the first three months of 2016 compared to the same time in 2015. Mopeds are up 3.1% (5003 vs 4853), but larger bikes and scooters are up an astounding 23.9% from 35,962 to 44,573.

1. Germany

With slow growth of only 4.5% since the same period last year, German registrations reached 49,748 in the first three months of 2016. Incredibly that means that the top three biking nations in Europe – Germany, Italy and France – have near-identical total registrations. (49,505, 49,576 and 49,748). While overall German registrations are up, it’s alone on this list in having a drop in larger bike sales – down 4.8% from 40,047 to 38,115. A large rise in moped sales, from 7,543 to 11,633 (54.2%), more than makes up for that loss, though.

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