Pandemic sends bicycle demand zooming

By Vien Thong   May 30, 2021 | 05:30 pm PT
Pandemic sends bicycle demand zooming
The bicycle section in a shopping mall in HCMC. Photo courtesy of AEON Vietnam.
Bicycle retailers have seen sales rise by 200-300 percent since last year when the Covid-19 pandemic first began.

Anh Tuan of Hanoi sometimes used to bicycle to the grocery store. He bought the bike last year for VND4 million ($173) when there was social distancing.

"Recently three friends of mine also bought bicycles. One even spent VND10 million to buy a bike to cycle around West Lake," he said.

Minh Duy of HCMC bought a bike when gyms were closed in February 2021. When his reopened, he used to cycle down to it on weekends. Now that gyms are shut again, he has been riding more regularly.

"I bicycle to destinations within 10 kilometers from my house for cardio exercise," he said.

Japanese retailer AEON Vietnam, which has six bicycle stores in its six shopping malls in HCMC, Hanoi, Hai Phong City, and Binh Duong Province, reported a 200-300 percent surge in sales last year.

An AEON spokesperson said: "The emergence of Covid-19 has made people pay more attention to health. Cycling has become a fitness trend in Vietnam."

Blue Circle Company, the Vietnamese distributor of Taiwanese bicycle brand Giant, also reported a jump in sales in its 21 stores. Its CEO, Peter Nguyen, attributed it to the increasing need to exercise while maintaining social distance.

But he said the bicycle market has high potential in the long run due to three factors: growing affluence, establishment of bike lanes along with urbanization and the development of public transport which would decrease the use of motorbikes.

Bikes would then become an optimal choice for travelling short distances, he said.

Electronics retailer Mobile World has begun to sell bicycles at two of its Dien May Xanh outlets in Thu Duc City, HCMC, starting April 30.

Its CEO, Doan Van Hieu Em, said the two outlets are each selling an average of 15 bicycles a day.

It plans to expand bicycle sales to 10 other stores in HCMC and its neighboring provinces of Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau before mid-June.

The chain has over 100 outlets that are big enough to display and sell bicycles, and it could mean additional revenues of VND1.2-1.5 billion a year for each of them, he said.

The chain aims to acquire 30-40 percent of the bicycle market share, he added.

Blue Circle is enthusiastic about this development.

"The participation of such big names like Mobile World in the bicycle market draws customers' attention to the market, which benefits our [Blue Circle’s] retail business," Nguyen added.

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