Many of you know that GIANT Croatia is a big Bikademy supporter and sponsor that works with us on several cycling projects. The mastermind behind the brand in Croatia is Ivan Stipic!
He’ll tell us more about the challenges and perks of being a distributor for the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world!
Hi Ivan, You are a licensed representative of Giant brand here. How did corona-crisis affect bicycle sales?
ON-OFF d.o.o. is a distributor of GIANT for Croatia. The impact of the corona-crisis on business was unimaginable. During the last year’s lockdown, everything stopped suddenly at the very beginning. However, just two or three weeks later, with the arrival of warmer weather, webshop sales skyrocketed. People simply wanted to spend time outdoors, in nature. The growth continued for a while, and more and more bikes were sold online. The absolute sales “explosion” occurred after easing of measures, i.e. with the reopening of the stores. Not only the people wanted to buy bikes (or their parts), but they waited in lines for them. Queue in front of the GIANT store was often larger than in front of Bipa or Spar that are stores across the street.
This total euphoria lasted for almost six weeks, and in that period 25 times more bicycles were sold than in the same period in the year before. We literally couldn’t put together enough bikes to meet customers and their demand during that period.
In early June, the first shortage of bicycles began, which lasted until the end of the summer when the first models for 2021 arrived.
Overall, 2020 was a very good year with significantly more bikes sales compared to the previous years.
Do you notice an increasing number of cyclists in Zagreb?
Yes, we have been noticing an increasing number of cyclists in Zagreb for several years. The biggest change is seen during the fall and winter, in a time of year when there weren’t many cyclists before. Now, they ride all the year.
The bicycle, except for sports and recreation, is increasingly becoming a synonym for everyday means of transportation. We are convinced that by planning and investing in a quality cycling infrastructure, the number of cyclists will increase even more and thus reduce car traffic.
What trends are expected in 2021?
The year 2021 will almost certainly be remembered for the great shortage of bicycles and their parts. This is due to the extremely high demand during 2020, which emptied all warehouses, and reduced production capacity due to Covid-19 conditions that manufacturers need to stick to.
As much as a bicycle may look like a very simple product, it has many parts from various manufacturers. If only one of them is late with the delivery of its “small” part, it will cause a chain reaction that results in a delay in the production and delivery of bicycles to stores.
Also, in recent years, most bicycle brands in the best-selling bicycle segment have relied on propulsion components from only one supplier (Shimano).
And in this segment, we expect the biggest shortages and large delays from suppliers/manufacturers.
We hope that this unfavorable situation in production and supply will end by the end of this year, and the situation with i.e. the supply chain will stabilize at the beginning of 2022.
Which GIANT bicycle is a best-seller in the world, but also here in Zagreb?
GIANT’s globally best-known and best-selling model is the TCR road model. TCR is an abbreviation that comes from Total Compact Road. TCR is the “father” of modern geometry of all today’s road bikes.
It’s a very interesting story from the late ’90s, but we need a little more time for it, we can talk about it another time.
In Zagreb, our best-selling model is Talon, which is logical because it is an affordable and very attractive MTB bike for sports and recreation that attracts the widest group of customers in Croatia.
What kind of rides do you prefer more – across town or outside of it?
I cycle around the city much more often, to work, from work, to kindergarten, etc. However, I incomparably prefer cycling outside the city, or more precisely outside the asphalt and traffic.
I like to be surrounded by the peace and greenery, while with car noises and views of buildings not so much.
What are your favorite destinations that you would recommend to all cycling enthusiasts?
When I started to think about which location to highlight, I realized that there are so many of them and I don’t really know which ones to highlight in particular.
But my favorite rides are the Adriatic islands, the terrain and trails are very different (although they might look similar) and the views are spectacular.
When will you pass some of Bikademy exams in Zagreb?
I’m just thinking about trying to go through all the locations together with the kids this spring and pass the Bikademy Study Zagreb.
Since I do the job that has the biggest scope of work when it’s the best time to bike, it can be complicated to find time for everything at once.