ElectronicPartner successfully negotiates second year of pandemic

The ElectronicPartner buying group kept up its strong performance even as the coronavirus pandemic continued for a second year. EP: specialist retail and the comTeam technology network made particularly good progress. The re-alignment of MEDIMAX is now complete, and initial moves have been made towards expansion.

  • EP: specialist retailers beat record result from 2020
  • MEDIMAX forging a new path after going private
  • comTeam still on track with digitalisation and delivering successful outcomes

Overall, ElectronicPartner recorded adjusted turnover of €1.4 billion in 2021. That constitutes a slight year-on-year drop of 2 per cent. ‘Our turnover in 2020 was 8 per cent higher than in 2019. In light of this and given the ongoing challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, we can be enormously proud of our accomplishments in 2021. They are a reflection of the successful efforts of the entire buying group’, said Karl Trautmann, member of the executive board of ElectronicPartner, adding, ‘The work that our member companies, supplier partners and employees are doing in these testing times is truly remarkable. It is made possible by collaboration based on mutual trust, dedication and team spirit at every level. The crisis has made it plain that we have all of that in abundance.’


Continued international growth
The national ElectronicPartner organisations in Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland have handled the various coronavirus restrictions imposed in their countries adroitly and given the best possible support to their local employees. That has meant that the specialist retailers were able to generate combined turnover of €415 million, equating to an increase of 1.5 per cent on 2020. ‘When assessing this performance, we need to bear in mind the previous year’s excellent growth figure of 12 per cent, which makes this further increase in turnover all the more satisfying’, said Trautmann.


EP: showing no signs of slowing down – 15.9 per cent ahead of the market
EP: specialist retailers had likewise presented some tidy results in 2020, with turnover up 19.3 per cent – the best result since the start of the quality campaign. That meant that the bar was high, but the skilful brand traders in the ElectronicPartner group nonetheless managed to continue the trend in 2021, achieving an increase of 11.8 per cent. With that, EP: members performed better than the specialist retail channel, which recorded a decline of 4 per cent in 2021, for the seventh time in succession.


From New Work to the new normal – comTeam continuing to shape the future
The partners in the comTeam technology network have continued to benefit from the push for digitalisation. Yet rather than simply following the herd, the IT specialists have identified new areas of operation and expanded their range of services to meet current and future demand. In financial terms, that was reflected in a year-on-year increase in turnover of 2.1 per cent, making it the best year for turnover to date in comTeam history. The IT network, which is resilient enough to withstand any crisis, is maintaining that course in 2022, with new services in areas such as digital sales, recruitment and the ongoing development of expertise.   


MEDIMAX taking a proactive approach
2021 was challenging particularly for large-scale electronics retail because outlets were closed for up to five months in many places as a result of the pandemic. Collection points, delivery services and e-commerce could do only so much to make up for the lack of passing trade. ‘Like other players in this segment of the market, we have taken some losses in bricks-and-mortar retail. That much is evident from GfK research, which has revealed a drop of 11.6 per cent for large-scale retail. Despite that, considering the overall situation, we are proud that the process of going private has been completed according to plan and that we can now set to work shaping the future of MEDIMAX alongside our dedicated franchise partners,’ said Friedrich Sobol, who is responsible for the MEDIMAX and EP: brands in his capacity as a member of the executive board. ElectronicPartner is planning to expand its specialist outlet franchise in the coming months and is taking action in various ways to secure partners for new locations.   


Working from home and shielding continuing to have an effect on product demand
The ElectronicPartner buying group once again recording growth in white goods in 2021. In large appliances, many consumers opted for particularly high-quality models. Small appliances, especially coffee machines and cooking equipment, were very much in demand in various price categories, which can be attributed to the fact that many people are still shielding or choosing to spend more time at home. In contrast to 2020, the TV market posted less growth overall while average prices rose, with a general trend towards OLED technology and large screen sizes. Business with mobile products such as headphones, Bluetooth speakers, wearables, etc. was slowed by delivery problems with certain components. Manufacturers are forecasting that this situation will persist at least until the third quarter of 2022 and will have an impact on the unwavering demand for IT and multimedia products. Despite that, ElectronicPartner recorded considerable growth in this segment last year. Finally, in entertainment, the Playstation 5 and the Nintendo Switch, as well as their associated gaming accessories, proved to be strong drivers of turnover.


Summary and outlook
With forward-thinking projects such as the in-house Go Green sustainability initiative, the MEDIMAX expansion and the work to open up new areas of business at comTeam, the Düsseldorf-based buying group is continuing to move forwards in 2022. In doing so, it is actively responding to the requirements of the industry as well as to the needs of members and end customers. ‘Throughout its 85 years of history, ElectronicPartner has experienced various radical technical, economic and social changes, but has always faced the resultant challenges under its own steam and made the most of the opportunities that have arisen. The coronavirus pandemic is another chapter in this history, albeit a particularly dramatic one, and one that we are handling successfully and responsibly,’ said Trautmann.