May 26, 2020|
Bicycles’ Spring is Coming to the post-COVID-19 Market
by Vivian Yang
As the COVID-19 situation gets better in the spring, bicycles and electronic motorcycles have become the most popular vehicles for Chinese people to get back on the road. Many of them are buying new gear, adding heat to the already steaming cycling market. All of this is making a profound impact on this industry as well as people’s way of transport.
Zhang Siqi, manager of the cycling department of JD Sports shared his views and work about bicycles on the eve of JD’s 618 Grand Promotion.
Zhang Siqi at JD’s 618 kick-off press conference
1.Helmet is the new mask
On May 21st, China’s Ministry of Public Security announced the “One Helmet, One Belt” campaign which will take effect on June 1st, enforcing stricter use of helmets and seat belts on the road. The mandate immediately drove up helmet prices and resulted in a shortage of supplies.
According to Zhang, searches for helmets in the past week on JD.com soared, up by 1142% compared with 7 days ago and sales grew by 45%. Orders are particularly high in 2nd and 3rd tier cities.
To ensure customers have the proper equipment before the rule is rolled out, JD quickly responded by leveraging its advantages in supply chain, coordinating with its suppliers in all channels to boost supplies. So far it has managed to offer 50,000 helmets per day on its platform to stabilize the market.
Besides providing available authentic helmet products, JD also works directly with big helmet makers in the manufacturing process to guarantee quality control won’t be compromised under the pressure and promotes relevant knowledge to increase people’s collective awareness of traffic regulations.
“During the 618 sales period, JD customers need not worry about helmet shortages as we’ve negotiated with our partners to make helmets a standard outfit for electronic motorcycle sales,” said Zhang.
2.An RMB 100 billion yuan market
“We have a lifestyle-changing profession”, Zhang said with pride at JD’s 618 press conference. “We are solving ‘the-last-5-kilometers’ challenge for many people.”
Zhang provided a set of staggering numbers about China’s bicycles landscape: each year about 100 million people in China buy new bicycles or electric motorcycles; 85.7 out of 100 households (especially for rural families) own electric motorcycles; the overall bicycle market size is over RMB 100 billion yuan.
China Bicycles Association’s report also showed that by 2019 there were near 400 million bicycles and 300 million electric motorcycles in China – more than anywhere else in the world.
Young customers between 16-25 years old have contributed over 44% of the sales in the past two months.
“Many people still think bicycles are just a tool of riding for the elderly. In fact, we have a very diversified customer base with people of all ages.”
3. Let cycling shine
JD’s omnichannel services pave a smooth way for riders’ journeys: once a booking is made online, customers can go to their nearby bicycle stores for pick-up, assembly, and maintenance. Tens of thousands of bicycle stores and technicians have partnered with JD across the country to provide convenient after-sales services.
As mentioned above, nearly half of JD’s bicycle customers are young people who are passionate about cycling. To get first-hand users’ insight, Zhang’s team made themselves into cycling contest organizers, contestants, and even technicians. Zhang tested many bicycles he sold, and dismantled a lot together with brand partners to develop C2M (Consumer-to-Manufacturer) products. Now JD has set up 10 dedicated assembly lines for its C2M bicycle products to satisfy customers’ various demands.
“Cycling is both practical and fashionable. We provide practical riding solutions to our customers. At the same time our products need to be good-looking and stylish.”
Cycling is an attitude of life. Zhang’s team has hosted over 500 cycling contests so far. They know people who have cycling weddings and team up for cycling expeditions in mountainous west China’s Sichuan and Tibet. Zhang also found that in their customer base, about 30% also frequently surf the fashion and jewelry categories, and 30% are interested in other sports products.
“Usually people who love fashion and sports are living a positive life ” said Zhang, “We are honored to bring more sunshine to their life through our superior products and services.”
During this year’s JD 618 sales event, Zhang’s team has planned attractive sales campaigns including a 999RMB / 140USD XD e-bike and a 1,999 RMB/285 USD NIU electronic motorcycle, both are unprecedentedly low price offers from brand partners. Starting from June 1st, live streams and interactive activities with customers will unveil gradually in the ramp-up to the June 18th shopping festival.