1.1 Definition and scope of study
The tyre (tyre segment) is produced mainly from rubber and inflated with air or nitrogen. It mainly provides grip and shock absorption by surrounding the metal rim of a vehicle. Tyres are characterised by a particular tread pattern (symmetrical, asymmetrical, directional) and a specific type of use (depending on the type of vehicle, suitable for snowy weather, racing vehicles, etc.).
A distinction must also be made between sales of tyres directly fitted to a newly registered car ("original equipment") and so-called replacement sales of new or retreaded tyres. A distinction is also made between tyres for saloon cars, SUVs and 4x4s, vans, trucks and other vehicles.
The French market suffered from declining sales at the end of 2018. However, some market segments remain dynamic, such as off-road and truck tires, which are resisting the sector's downward trend. It also has to cope with international competition from Germany and China in particular.
The market can rely on its international players and especially the development of online sales of "pure players", even if they partly weaken the activity of specialist resellers (in physical point of sale) who lose market share every year.
The boom in online sales is contributing to the downward trend in prices favourable to the consumer, reducing margins for manufacturers and distributors. The drop in prices encourages the major players in the sector to propose increasingly differentiated offers to justify higher price levels and to constantly renew their ranges and the innovations on offer (e.g. airless technology). The "premium" and "top-of-the-range" segments of the offer are thus doing well, posting rising sales figures.
The Covid-19 epidemic has had a strong impact on the original equipment tyre segment, but replacement sales should remain stable and enable manufacturers to weather this external shock.
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