Schwalbe has posted an update on the 2020 financial year in which the tyre giant recorded a 7% increase in sales worth a total of €225 million.
“The year 2020 brought us an emotional roller-coaster in all areas of life. Luckily, temporary closures of bicycle retail stores did not result in long-term sales collapses in our industry”, says Frank Bohle, executive partner of Schwalbe. “On the contrary, reopening after the lockdown resulted in a jump in demand for bikes and bike parts never seen before.
“The bicycling boom had been going on for years, but the Corona pandemic acted as a powerful catalyst, as cycling allows people to commute without worrying so much about the virus. Almost all bike segments experienced benefits – most of all e-bikes, but also gravel bikes, mountain bikes and formerly niche products such as cargo bikes.”
The steady growth comes on the back of a relentless upsizing in which the company has almost doubled turnover over the past twelve years, making it progressively harder to register the double digit growth.
Among the new business winners, Schwalbe’s e-bike tyre the Marathon E-Plus, as well as trekking and MTB models were in high demand. This resulted in the uplift to the new high for the business, which registered €210 million in the previous year and €187 million in 2018.
Schwalbe was not alone in experiencing delivery hiccups as a result of the boom in demand.
The demand was so unusually high, that we had no chance to increase capacities short term. Delivery times still lag behind the need, also with us”, says Bohle. “We have done everything necessary to adjust production capacities to the current development as quickly as possible!”
Schwalbe goes Fair Trade
The tyre maker has developed a partnership with Fair Rubber e. V. – the only fair trade organisation for rubber, that directly pays out member premiums one to one to small farm cooperatives in the countries of origin. Schwalbe says that so far it is the only brand in the bicycle industry committed to this.
“We use fair trade rubber for our most popular tire Marathon E-Plus for e-bikes. This proves just how seriously we take our switch to using fair trade rubber!”, says Bohle.
Schwalbe’s second tyre made of fair trade rubber is now ready to roll on the market: the new Schwalbe Pick-Up for cargo bikes. Schwalbe says that these tyres are rapidly gaining in popularity as emission-free small transport vehicles become suitable options for logistics trade.
Headquarters sees €20 million investment
A fresh investment of €20 million has been made in a new company headquarters in Reichshof and once again the theme of sustainability runs through the build.
As much as is possible, the materials used in the build are recyclable once they reach the end of their life. For this purpose, a material pass has been created for every construction material. Other highlights include electric power generation using solar cells, rainwater tanks, ceiling canvasses for temperature regulation and a green roof garden.