Kärcher ends 2020 with record turnover
On track in turbulent times.
With a turnover of 2.721 billion euros, Kärcher was once again able to grow significantly in 2020 compared to the previous record year: The growth of the cleaning specialist was 5.6 percent, adjusted to 8.5 percent for currency effects. Some of the markets with significant growth rates included Germany, Western and Eastern Europe overall, China, Japan and Australia.
Products: Increase in demand for hygiene and garden
Certain product areas became more important during the corona crisis. For example, there was great demand for the steam cleaners (SG, SGV and HDS model lines) classified as "virucidal against enveloped viruses PLUS" for disinfection applications according to the effective area defined by the german Robert Koch-Institute. In the Professional line the demand for hygiene solutions rose, especially mobile spray disinfection devices with appropriate disinfectants were popular. In the end customer segment the sales of battery-powered products for the garden and garden maintenance also increased. "We are well-positioned with our balanced business model", says Hartmut Jenner. "This was clearly shown in 2020. While in some instances commercial customers had to defer investments, the demand in the private customer area was significantly higher."
Also in future products for keeping places clean and hygienic will be an important success driver. With its new vacuum cleaner models T 11/1 Classic HEPA and T 10/1 Adv HEPA, Kärcher relies on H14 filters, which reliably remove bacteria, viruses and aerosols from the air. The Kärcher air purifier AF 100 can be equipped with filters of classes H13 and H14 if required in order to reduce aerosols even more effectively.
Suitable for disinfection: The Kärcher steam cleaners classified as "virucidal against enveloped viruses PLUS" according to the effective area defined by the Robert Koch-Institute.
Kärcher offers a comprehensive range of battery-powered products for the garden and garden maintenance.
Designed for the long term: Strategic core issues
Apart from the optimisation of the portfolio, Kärcher continues to purposefully invest in the future. For example, the company is expanding its digital solutions, which are aimed at demand-oriented working, as well as efficient processes in professional cleaning services. The sensor-based system of partner company Zan Compute shows, for example, that the number of cleaning cycles for a property can be reduced by around a third with a requirement analysis in real time. In the end customer area Kärcher now presents the world's first pressure washer range with app connection via Bluetooth interface (Power Control and Smart Control) for smart initial startup and use. The core element is a comprehensive application consultant, who guides you through the cleaning process and automatically transfers the appropriate settings to the device.
"Digitisation is extremely important not only for our customers, but also for the processes within the company", explains Hartmut Jenner. "We are continuously investing in this area." The Kärcher plant in Upper Bühlertal received the prestigious award "Factory of the Year" in the category "Excellent location development". Reasons for the award included the systematic automation and networking of processes both in production and administration, the conversion to completely paperless processes and the digitally controlled intralogistics with driverless transport systems.
Another growth segment is the area of municipal technology. In order to address customers more efficiently and expand its market share, Kärcher set up its own competence centre with Municipal GmbH. The Holder brand, which has belonged to the group of companies since 2019, has also been operating under this name since January 2021.
Picture: App connection of the high-pressure cleaners for end customers via Bluetooth interface
For the future: Sustainable management
An essential component of the company's DNA is sustainability, which is practised by the 13,500 employees worldwide in many facets. Since 2020 Kärcher has been an official supporter of the Development and Climate Alliance and pursues ambitious sustainability targets from product development to production through to logistics such as the CO2 neutrality of all plants worldwide this year. Various initiatives aim to reduce the use of new plastics according to the principle "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle". One aim is to achieve a recycled plastic content of up to 50 percent in the coming years for pressure washers for Home and Garden. Other pilot projects for the use of various recycled materials in products have been launched. In the packaging area the trend is towards consistent material reduction.
Within the framework of its cultural sponsorship programme Kärcher realised numerous projects in 2020, including the restoration of the south tower of the Berlin Cathedral and the world's largest Bismarck statue in Hamburg. Cleaning experts from the company also carefully removed deposits from the horseshoe-shaped staircase at the Palace of Fontainebleau south of Paris, the world-renowned UNESCO world heritage site. Assignments in Cologne and Rio de Janeiro are planned for the current year.