KATHMANDU, July 31: Even though sales of two-wheelers have continued to grow, traders dealing on helmets said their sales, however, have dropped to half over the last two years as most of the auto dealers these days provide helmet free with two-wheelers.
Helmet sales had hit the peak when Traffic Police made helmets compulsory even for pillion riders in 2008. However, helmet sales started going down after the rule was scrapped two years ago.
Sales worsened further after dealers of two-wheelers started providing helmets free with every purchase.
“Sales at present have dropped by around 50 percent compared to two years ago,” said Sajjan Jagodia, proprietor of Vani Auto Trade at Tripureshwar. “As the companies provide helmet free of cost, customers buy it only after the older one becomes useless.”
According to traders, helmet sales have been affected also because of the drop in sales of reconditioned bikes.
“I used to sell up to 10 helmets a day two years ago. These days, I sell just around five units a day,” said Binod Jaiswal, proprietor of Honda Mahal at Putalisadak. “It is very difficult to survive by selling helmets.”
Various brands of helmets like Index, Snell, Avex, STM, AMG, BM and Leisure, among others, are available in the market. Helmets are available in price range of Rs 650 to Rs 12,000 in the market. “We also have high-end helmets with features like Bluetooth connectivity. But they cost more than Rs 20,000 per unit,” said Jagodia.
Cheaper helmets available in the market are manufactured in Nepal itself by importing raw materials from India. These helmets cost in range of Rs 650 to Rs 1,100. Helmets imported from Thailand and China are priced between Rs 1,500 and Rs 12,000.
Though safety is the primary reason for wearing a helmet, traders say most of the riders do not change it unless it is totally damaged.