Urban buyers are now upgrading to more premium products, while government spends – which fuelled demand at bottom of the pyramid – are flattening out. Once commanding 50% of the Indian bicycle market, the roadster now accounts for just 30-35%. There has been infiltration from a lot of unbranded players too. The organised market for roadsters has shrunk from nearly 56 lakh units in 2018-19 to 50 lakh in 2020-21, according to leading cycle maker Hero Motors Company CMD Pankaj Munjal.
Fall in government-aided projects have played a big role too. Annual numbers from the All India Cycle Manufacturers’ Association (AICMA) show that government purchases of roadsters were 3.7 million units in 2016-17, 4.8 million in 2017-18, again 4.8 million in 2018-19 and 3.2 million units in 2019-20.
“The decline in 2019-20 was due to Covid-19 in the last quarter,” said AICMA secretary general K B Thakur. “Currently, roadsters in retail sales are declining and the fancy and kids’ bicycle sales are increasing,” he added. Cycle marketers hope the current rush for personal mobility will help cycle sales – roadsters and otherwise.