The kitchen machine brought the manufacturer Vorwerk brilliant business in the Corona crisis – even without kitchen parties.

Hobby cook at the Thermomix

Dhe Thermomix is ​​crisis-proof. The kitchen machine proved this impressively in the Corona year 2020. The device, which costs more than 1000 euros, is principally demonstrated in direct sales by independent saleswomen in the homes of potential customers – which was down in times of a pandemic. But the Wuppertal family company Vorwerk immediately trained its employees digitally so that the kitchen parties could also take place on the screen.

That paid off. The Thermomix division achieved record sales of 1.6 billion euros and grew by almost a fifth compared to the same period in the previous year. The operating result, the exact value of which Vorwerk does not state, has also increased by more than 25 percent. This was due to the increase in sales and the considerable growth in new consultants as well as a “strict cost management, especially at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic”, as stated in the annual report presented on Wednesday.

“We were able to react quickly and efficiently to the global corona pandemic,” said Reiner Strecker, the general partner of the Vorwerk group. The company took the momentum into the new financial year, with sales in the first four months of 2021 increasing by more than 30 percent compared to the previous year.

The brand awareness has paid off

The Thermomix is ​​by far the most important product of the Wuppertal company; it accounts for a good half of the group’s total sales of just under 3.2 billion euros. The most important market is Germany, also in the home country sales increased by 24.9 percent to 434 million euros. Universal kitchen machines from Vorwerk have been around for 50 years, but the Thermomix has given the product group a special boost, primarily with the two digital versions, the TM5 and later the TM6. The company has sold 7.5 million of the two devices since 2014.

The brand awareness, especially in Europe, has paid off in the pandemic; the almost 60,000 self-employed consultants communicated with their customers in Zoom conferences or via social media. The only country in which sales fell was, of all places, highly digitized China. Thermomix is ​​pursuing a different sales structure there: because of the mostly small apartments and rather unusual parties at home in society, the product is sold there in cooking studios and shopping centers. However, the corona outbreak in the country has resulted in many Chinese still avoiding the shopping malls, which caused sales there to collapse by 15.6 percent to 144 million euros.

The most important market in particular suffered

Kobold, the second traditional brand in the family company’s product range, which is best known for the vacuum cleaner of the same name, has lost only insignificant sales despite business closings and lockdowns. The Kobold division – to which Loriot set a monument in 1978 with the “Heinzelmann single-hand suction blower” – achieved sales of 703 million euros after 708 million in the same period of the previous year. Italy, the most important market, suffered in particular, where revenues fell by 11 percent, while in Germany direct sales also went well for the vacuum cleaner robots and wipers, increasing sales by 10.5 percent to 239 million euros.

Vorwerk, however, has most of the self-employed consultants in the cosmetics business with the Jafra brand, especially in Mexico. More than 420,000 of the well over half a million consultants work there. In contrast to the Thermomix, cosmetics are more about cheaper products and thus also about a different sales approach. Despite the switch to digital sales, the cosmetics division – like many other companies in the industry – suffered from the Corona crisis. At 319 million euros, sales were well below the previous year’s figure of 352 million, but according to the company they were well above expectations.

For the current financial year Vorwerk expects sales growth of between 6 and 10 percent, which is to be borne primarily by home products such as the Thermomix. Both the number of consultants and the digital offerings are to be expanded.