Press releases

Miele increases turnover by 6.5%

Gütersloh, February 11, 2021 No. 006/2021
  • Gütersloh family-owned company reports sales of € 4.5 bn for 2020 fiscal year

  • Staff levels also hit all-time high

  • Miele to achieve climate neutrality at all locations in 2021

In the 2020 fiscal year (January 1 - December 31), the Miele Group achieved sales of € 4.5 bn, 6.5% more than in 2019. This has even greater relevance in view of the fact that Miele was also massively hit by the turmoil caused by the current pandemic during the past year. 'Thanks to our strong brand, a high-quality product range and the persistent expansion of digital marketing activities, Miele has nevertheless succeeded in surpassing the previous year's turnover by a considerable margin. We will continue to stay our course and, indeed, strengthen it', says the Executive Board of the world's leading purveyor of premium domestic appliances and commercial machines. Strong growth was reported above all in Germany, central Europe and in China. Amongst individual categories, vacuum cleaners and refrigeration products experienced the greatest growth rates. As per December 31, 2020, Miele employed a staff of 20,944 worldwide. This equates to an increase of 466 year-on-year.

Amidst the rumblings of the pandemic, business within the Miele Group was reminiscent of the proverbial roller coaster ride: Whilst the year got off to a promising start, the company experienced a big dip between March and May, followed by strong demand during the summer and an outstanding second half of the year. An exceptional economic situation on the domestic appliance front generated a strong tailwind: Consumers had to – and still must – stay at home much more, and instead of spending money on travel and restaurants, they are investing in their own four walls.

This shows once again that trustworthy brands and exemplary quality rate highly with consumers, above all in times of uncertainty. Tying in with this, Miele has strategically placed its high-priority focus on an ambitious expansion of its sustainability strategy. In an initial stage, the group will attain climate neutrality at all its locations during 2021 with respect to both its own emissions (Scope 1) and those of its energy suppliers (Scope 2). Precise details, including the contributing activities and further seminal facts and figures, will be published shortly.

Miele's turnover in Germany reached € 1.33 bn. This represents an increase of 8.8% and accounts for 29.5% of overall turnover. Strong growth was also reported by the Benelux countries, France, Austria and Switzerland, all European neighbours with high-level turnover – but also by aspiring countries in eastern Europe and, particularly, by China. In other important markets, the previous year's levels of business were roughly held, for example, in the USA and Great Britain, despite the alarming spread of Covid-19. As far as distribution channels are concerned, online sales saw the most positive development.

Production plant utilisation at very high level

With respect to unit sales, almost all product groups achieved all-time highs. The floor care sector, for instance, where the cordless Triflex HX1 stick vacuum cleaner, launched with great success at the end of 2019, and high-end classic canister models had great impact, is worthy of special mention. On the refrigerator and freezer front, the situation was shaped by an increased demand for longer-term and more reliable food storage due to Corona. In the kitchen, Miele is furthermore profiting from the excellent performance and the exclusive smart features of the current Generation 7000 range of built-in appliances and G 7000 dishwashers. Further market growth came from Miele's upgraded laundry care portfolio.

In view of historically high sales figures – and because production stops in spring lasting several weeks were unavoidable – plants are currently operating with a very high workload. In part, extra shifts have been added and production capacities permanently increased. Despite all this, delivery periods of more than six weeks cannot currently be avoided in the case of washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers, depending on the model. Miele is doing its utmost to keep waiting times as short as possible and to reduce delivery backlogs, and is in close and constant contact with the retail trade.

Miele Professional growth above all in the hospital sector

In the Professional business unit which profits to around 15% from project business, Miele's turnover grew on balance by 1.8%. A plunge in capital expenditure was noted among commercial clients, above all among hotels and restaurants whose business, as is generally known, has been hard hit by the pandemic. The growth driver on the other hand, with double-digit increases, was the hospital project business, which is covered within the Miele Group by its medical technology subsidiary Steelco.

Miele is now transferring its expertise in the field of hygiene, amassed over decades, to air purification. Production of Miele AirControl air purifiers, products which the Gütersloh family-run company has included in its portfolio to help combat the Coronavirus, is starting at Miele's Lehrte plant: With six-stage filtration of room air and a retention rate of more than 99.995% of all air-borne particles, bacteria, fungal spores and viruses. The new devices are designed for use in semi-public buildings such as schools, child-care facilities, local authorities, shops and offices.

Growth through new business fields

In order to tap further innovation and growth potential, Miele is pursuing a multi-track strategy. To support its core business, the company is taking a stake in promising startups via its Miele Venture Capital GmbH subsidiary with a view, for example, to gaining access to smart services surrounding its product range or to support (digital) marketing efforts. A current example is the innovative recipe app KptnCook, where Miele, as announced this week, is now taking out a majority stake holding. KptnCook is viewed as one of the fastest-growing offerings of its kind in the German-speaking world and is now set to forcefully embark on a path of greater internationalisation.

Furthermore, Miele realigned its organisation during the period under review. The autonomously operating business units Laundry, Cooking, Dishwashing, Refrigeration, Small Domestic Appliances (e.g. vacuum cleaners and coffee machines), Service and Professional were up and running on schedule. An eighth business unit (New Growth Factory) is charged with opening up new fields of business and brings together promising Miele subsidiaries such as the gourmet delivery service MChef and the vertical farming specialist Agrilution. The elegant and fully automatic Plantcubes sold by the Munich-based company create the perfect conditions for growing harvest-fresh micro-greens and herbs in the convenience of one's own kitchen.

Special Corona bonus for all employees worldwide

As per December 2020, the Miele Group employed a staff of 20,944 around the globe. This represents an increase of 466, or 2.3%, compared with 2019. 11,066 of these employees are on the payroll of Miele Germany alone, a slight increase over the previous year.

A milestone during the reporting period was the launch of a separate location for global digital marketing and sales in Amsterdam (Miele X), which is proceeding faster than planned. Currently, the team, due to be expanded further during 2021, comprises 40 top experts from 17 countries. To support the digitalisation of products, services and processes, the Smart Home/Electronics competence centre, currently with around 1,000 employees, and Central IT will also increase their personnel considerably over the coming months.

Extensive measures have been implemented and consistently maintained to protect the workforce and third parties in order to keep operations up and running in administration, production and marketing as far as possible despite the ongoing pandemic. A large proportion of office activities was, for example, switched to remote working, virtually from one day to the next. Contacts with retailers were conducted almost entirely using digital platforms, and trade shows and exhibitions were replaced by virtual events.

Employees continue to work under aggravated conditions, above all in production and after-sales services and on account of the closure of schools and nurseries. Furthermore, many suffered a loss in income during the first quarter on account of short-time working or by voluntarily taking time off. The Executive Board thanked all employees for their outstanding commitment in these hard times. To compensate for impaired Corona-related inconvenience, members of staff worldwide received a voluntary bonus amounting to 40% of a monthly salary with their December payslip.

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The Executive Board of the Miele Group (left to right): Dr. Stefan Breit (Technology), Dr. Markus Miele (Executive Director and Co-Proprietor), Olaf Bartsch (Finances and Administration), Dr. Reinhard Zinkann (Executive Director and Co-Proprietor) and Dr. Axel Kniehl (Marketing and Sales).

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Miele vacuum cleaners are multiple test winners and have made an above-average contribution to the company‘s sales growth.

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To protect against Corona in schools, nurseries, shops and offices: The Miele AirControl air purifier will be produced by the family-owned company from February onwards at its Lehrte plant.

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