Vorwerk is selling fewer Thermomix devices for the second year in a row

As of: May 7, 2024 1:03 p.m

The Wuppertal family business Vorwerk is selling fewer Thermomix devices for the second year in a row. But despite consumers’ thrift, Vorwerk’s profits tripled.

Vorwerk has sold fewer units of the popular Thermomix food processor for the second year in a row. The company sold well over a million kitchen appliances worldwide in 2023, achieving record sales of more than 1.7 billion euros. However, the narrow increase of 0.8 percent compared to the previous year is mainly due to the fact that the price for the Thermomix has been increased twice since mid-2022.

“We are feeling the reluctance to buy. Our consultants have to show more commitment and do more demonstrations in order to reach the conclusion,” says Vorwerk boss Thomas Stoffmehl. Founded in 1883, the company is the largest European direct sales company. The sales principle: Independent consultants demonstrate the products at events and so-called Thermomix parties.

Pandemic surge has passed

The Thermomix, invented in 1971, is the company’s most important product. More than 50 percent of sales come from the TM6, the current model of the 1,500 euro food processor. Like many other producers of small electrical appliances, Vorwerk enjoyed rapid demand during the pandemic. Between 2019 and 2021, Thermomix sales increased by a third. Since then, development has stagnated and the number of units has recently declined. Vorwerk boss Stoffmehl speaks of saturation.

Things have been going well recently for the second most important product in the range, the Kobold vacuum cleaner model. Here Vorwerk was able to increase sales by seven percent to a good 860 million euros. However, the billion dollar threshold already targeted for 2022 was missed again.

Competitors have more problems

Overall, the figures show that Vorwerk is getting through the crisis relatively unscathed. Despite the decline in sales, last year was significantly better than the previous year. The bottom line is that Vorwerk was able to increase its annual profit to 133 million euros, almost tripling it. According to its own statements, the group benefited from the fact that the situation with energy prices and supply chains eased significantly again. Prices for individual parts, shipping and logistics costs have decreased, it said.

In comparison, Vorwerk’s competitors were in a worse position: According to the industry organization gfu, sales and sales volumes of kitchen appliances in German retail fell by 16 percent in 2023.

No new Thermomix yet

Despite the high profit, the year had an unpleasant end from Vorwerk’s perspective. Stiftung Warentest named the Thermomix only the second best food processor behind its rival Bosch Cookit. “It annoys me personally, and the test criteria can be argued,” said Stoffmehl. However, this had no impact on business development.

For the current year, Stoffmehl expects that profits will “probably decline significantly”. This is justified, among other things, by planned investments in the three-digit million range. There will be no new Thermomix this year. “We have no pressure,” Stoffmehl said. He wants to expand his own community. He proudly points to the 5.1 million subscribers to the Cookidoo recipe platform; in 2019 the number was still below the million mark.

At the end of the year, Vorwerk said it employed more than 100,000 consultants worldwide. According to Stoffmehl, the fact that the number has halved compared to the previous year is due to the sale of the Jafra cosmetics division.

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