Germany is Europe's largest home appliance market. Twelve million major appliances are sold each year in this country, which is 18 percent of all home appliances sold in Europe. Last year, the figure included 700,000 appliances from Gorenje.
Franjo Bobinac, Gorenje President and CEO: "Germany has always been and remains one of our top markets; its economic stability certainly contributes to such status. During the turmoil of the global economic crisis, it has not seen such economic hardship as some other European countries. It is also a market in which we have built a strong brand since the early days, and managed to shift the consumer perception as witnessed by the share of appliances sold under our proprietary brand. Only a decade ago, this share amounted to 55 percent; today, over 90 percent of sales are generated with our own brand."
Gorenje has been present in the highly competitive German market for a decade longer, i.e. half a century. In 1961, eleven years after the Slovenian company was founded, and only three years after the launch of home appliance manufacturing, the first batch of 200 electric coking ranges were exported to then West Germany, marking the start of Gorenje's international operations. In 1971, Gorenje Vertriebs, a subsidiary of Gorenje, was founded in the Bavarian capital, with three employees, in order to boost both sales under Gorenje's own brands and OEM sales to retail resellers and value-added resellers. 40 years later, Gorenje Vertriebs employs 64 persons.
2009 was a watershed year for Gorenje operations in Germany. Despite the bankruptcy of the the Quelle mail order business, a key account for Gorenje, the company broke past the EUR 100 million milestone in sales for the first time. Last year, sales revenues were at just over EUR 112 million, representing good 8 percent in the composition of Gorenje Group sales by value. This year, Gorenje is planning further growth of revenue in Germany.
Increase in in-house brand sales is partly a result of the expansion of distribution network. There are approximately 10,000 major appliance stores in Germany; Gorenje brand appliances are available in 6,000. The importance of web sales, highly popular among German consumers, is also rising. Just over 10 percent of Gorenje's German sales are generated over the internet.
Klemen Prešeren, Managing Director of Gorenje's subsidiary in Germany: "Despite the strong competition from both German and other international manufacturers, we rank fifth among all home appliance providers in the market, and our brand is the first among non-German ones. Our goal is to grow 2 percent faster than the market. We want our consumers to perceive us as a creator of innovative and exquisitely designed products. To this end, we stepped up our marketing activities in recent years to address our final buyers; we also update at least 15 percent of our sales program each year, which is above average even for an innovative and dynamic market such as Germany where the annual rate of new launches is under 9 percent."