ElectronicPartner looks back on 2013 as a challenging financial year

  • Mobile telephony and comTeam as strong growth drivers
  • 360-degree marketing for EP:
  • MEDIMAX profits from the online strategy

Central sales in Germany of the ElectronicPartner cooperation in the financial year ended were EUR 1.504 billion. “2013 was a difficult year, as forecast, without any supportive outside stimulus”, said Friedrich Sobol, member of ElectronicPartner Management Board. “To be prepared for the changed conditions on the market, we undertook comprehensive internal restructuring in the past year. This allows us to respond quickly and flexibly to the current situation in the industry and consolidate an enduring strong position on the market in 2014. Thus we are ideally positioned to face a future that will certainly be eventful.

Although this result shows that ElectronicPartner was less successful than in 2012, due to a very great extent to the market for TVs having caved in, the cooperation nevertheless achieved above-market growth in individual areas. Growth drivers included large electrical appliances whose sales increased significantly not only in comparison to the cooperation’s figures for the previous year, but also compared to the average for the market. Particularly worth highlighting are the developments in mobile telephony. With an increase in the quantity sold compared to the previous year by around 58 per cent, developments in this product group were again extremely positive.

“The strong growth in the mobile-telephony sector is also due to our initiatives in this area. For example, with easyTel we launched a prepaid product onto the market that is easy to market for specialist retailers and attractive to consumers”, says Friedrich Sobol. ElectronicPartner continues to pursue this course and is launching another own product entitled smile mobile in February – this time for postpaid customers. Our own insurance and guarantee product easySchutz is another new product available to specialist retailers who are cooperation members. Friedrich Sobol finds that the positive developments in mobile telephony also have high strategic importance: “The TV and mobile-device segments in the sector of consumer electronics are increasingly merging. For this reason, it is crucial that our members secure a strong foothold for themselves in the ever more important market for mobile telephony. This provides the basis for the successful marketing of future product areas.”

Development of the brands
EP: as specialist-retailer brand also benefited in the financial year ended from the broadly based “HomeSmartHome” initiative. As well as a commission structure for specialist retailers, the focus was on a widely based campaign to promote the theme of networking among end-consumers. This campaign will continue with various marketing promotions in 2014. ElectronicPartner will concentrate, in the current financial year, on strengthening the EP: specialist trade at regional and local level. A 360-degree marketing approach assists retailers in expanding their position by means of printing and online media and PoS measures. Tools solely available to ElectronicPartner cooperation members – such as a comprehensive online catalogue or the Virtual Shelf digital sales and advisory tool – help to increase the range of products that specialist retailers are able to offer.

MEDIMAX, the specialist consumer-electronics line of the cooperation, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013 and was able to mark this anniversary with various attention-drawing promotions. Moreover, many new stores opened, partly as a result of organic growth and partly as a result of taking over ten former branches of ProMarkt. MEDIMAX is now present at 128 locations throughout Germany. The course for expansion will be pursued in stages this year also by opening other new stores. Another major aim is to widen the multi-channel strategy for MEDIMAX that will be significantly promoted in 2014. 

For the comTeam cooperation of systems manufacturers, the current year will be marked by 30th anniversary events. With various new event formats like the comTeam Forum, this B2B brand will be promoting exchanges and networking between systems manufacturers to an even greater extent. A highlight of this anniversary year will be the systems-manufacturers conference in May, which is being organised in the form of a cruise from Kiel to Oslo. “The close cooperation and exchange of experiences between these manufacturers is extremely successful”, says Friedrich Sobol. “Whereas, according to the consumer-research organisation Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung, systems manufacturers in general experienced a decline in sales of 4.3 per cent in 2013, comTeam had two-digit growth over the same period.”

Foreign business
The economic conditions prevailing throughout the whole of Europe have had a detrimental effect on the results of the cooperation. Sales of EUR 384 million were lower than the figure for the previous year. At European level, ElectronicPartner is continuing its partnership with E-Square, which has meanwhile established itself as one of the leading service groups with 12,000 member retailers in 16 strategic markets of Europe. The strong national organisations consistently pursue shared European interests and thereby ensure the long-term success of partnerships with international suppliers.