Overcoming challenges together – 2020 comes to an end with a good result for ElectronicPartner

The ElectronicPartner buying group is looking back on an unusual, but overall successful 2020 financial year characterised by regulatory measures taken to cope with the pandemic and by supply bottlenecks at manufacturers.

•    A record result for specialty retail brand EP:
•    Successful realignment at MEDIMAX
•    comTeam benefits from a digitalisation boost


“Thanks to the outstanding position of EP: specialty dealers on the market, the timely digitalisation of our business processes and the rigorous implementation of our franchise strategy at MEDIMAX, we performed well, with an increase in turnover of 8.1 per cent”, says Karl Trautmann, a member of the ElectronicPartner management team. The successful performance of the country-based organisations as well as the system house business contributed to a satisfying core sales figure of 1.5 billion euros. To compare this figure with that of 2019, the prior-year basis was adjusted with regard to the results of the MEDIMAX markets that left the buying group due to the realignment.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic – international growth of 12 per cent
The international business of the buying group proved robust in all of the country-based organisations. Despite a wide range of limitations due to the measures taken to cope with the coronavirus, specialty dealers in Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands increased market share, resulting in a 12 per cent increase in international turnover to over 409 million euros.

Product categories increase – despite supply bottlenecks
One consequence of the global COVID-19 pandemic was the interruption of supply chains, which coincided with a sharp increase in customer demand. This resulted in supply bottlenecks in the European market for consumer electronics. Nevertheless, the buying group recorded gains in nearly all of the product areas. Development in the large electrical appliance business was outstanding. Surprising here were freezers, which had continually lost market significance in previous years. Meanwhile, the clear victor of 2020 was the refrigerator. Among the small appliances, all of the product groups except for irons experienced gains, primarily food processors, kitchen appliances and fully automatic coffee machines as well as cordless stick and robot vacuum cleaners. While some product groups demonstrated considerable growth, others became less significant. For example, in the consumer electronics area, the TV product group experienced very positive development, while demand for Bluetooth speakers decreased. The same applies for the telecommunications area, which declined within the buying group. Among multimedia products, demand was strong for laptops and PCs, printers and monitors along with webcams.

EP: on the road to success since 2015
The rise in turnover of 19.3 per cent in 2020 was the most significant increase for EP: brand dealers since the quality campaign began. For the sixth time in a row, development here was above that of the overall specialty retail channel (+4.4 per cent). With sharper positioning as “local heroes” due to the quality campaign 2.0, dealers have successfully gained new customers, even during this difficult time, and solidified business with existing customers. During the shutdown periods, the multichannel presence of EP: specialty dealers was just as persuasive as each member’s expertise in solving problems and providing service.

MEDIMAX realignment complete
In 2020 ElectronicPartner successfully concluded the greater part of the realignment of the specialty market brand MEDIMAX. Despite the shop closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, many new franchise partners came on board and, with the energetic, targeted support of the buying group, they took the step to become entrepreneurs. In this regard, the like-for-like sales developed in line with the market at the volume of large-scale electronics retail, which increased by 4.2 per cent over the previous year.

A digitalisation boost – comTeam is shaping the future
The partners and service providers in the technology network comTeam benefited considerably in 2020 from digitalisation efforts undertaken in both the private and public sectors. The IT specialists concluded the financial year with satisfactory growth of 5.2 per cent in the hardware area and exceptional growth of 30 per cent in the consulting and service area. The recent launch of the comTeach CAMPUS in March 2021 laid the foundation for a forward-looking advanced training campaign.

Due to the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the year developed quite differently for ElectronicPartner and its members than planned. “We have grown – not only with regard to our turnover figures, but also through the challenges we faced together with the industry and all of society. Thanks to a solid footing, state-of-the-art IT infrastructure, level-headed economic decision-making by member companies and the supportive attitude of our suppliers, we coped well with the challenges of the 2020 financial year. The outlook for 2021 depends a great deal on the actions taken by the government in the coming weeks and months. We are well prepared for success in 2021”, concludes Karl Trautmann.