Yesterday, Beiersdorf reported full year (FY) 2021 sales of €7.6bn, up 9.7% on the previous year – driving the company back to above pre-crisis 2019 organic sales levels. Consumer business sales surged 8.8% at €6.1bn for the full year, up 18.8% in Latin America; up 13% in North America; and growing 8.9% in Africa, Asia and Australia. Consumer sales growth sat at 6.3% in Eastern Europe and 5.7% in Western Europe.
Net profit for the full year across the entire global business was €699m, up 9.9% on the previous year.
‘Great resilience’ in the face of COVID-19 pandemic
“We are very satisfied about how our key financial figures have come along,” said Astrid Hermann, CFO at Beiersdorf.
“We increased the group’s profitability and demonstrated our great resilience in the face of the turbulent developments bought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite rising material and transport costs and large investments we made once again as part of C.A.R.E.+ [Courage, Aspiration, Responsibility and Empathy], our gross margin has remained largely constant,” Hermann said.
Vincent Warney, CEO of Beiersdorf, agreed and said 2021 had not only been a “financially successful fiscal year” but also a year in which the company took “highly promising steps” in laying the groundwork for future success.
Speaking to analysts on the company’s annual earnings call, Warney said: “Our investments and our strategic focus are clearly paying off. We are impressing our consumers with sustainable skin care innovations and thus are setting ourselves in a challenging market environment. We are further expanding our e-commerce business and ensuring that we reach our consumers digitally, wherever they might be.”
E-commerce business grew 32% in FY 2021, with online sales from Beiersdorf’s consumer business now exceeding 10% of total group sales, he said – offering a “significant contribution” to overall growth.
The company was also “tapping growth potential” elsewhere, he said, and investing in state-of-the-art efficient and sustainable global production and logistics.
Nivea face care innovation, travel boost and derma strength
Beiersdorf’s flagship brand Nivea reported organic sales growth of 1.7% for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021, with growth up 5.5% for the full year, largely driven by the success of its Nivea Luminous630 product range launch that featured a patented active ingredient to reduce pigment and age spots.
Hermann told analysts the transformation of Nivea was progressing well. “We have made Nivea one of the fastest-growing brands in face care in the mass market. This growth was supported by the launch of products around our breakthrough innovation Luminous630.”
For the full 2021 year, Nivea managed to “significantly expand” its market share in face care, especially across Europe on the back of this range taking off, the company said.
Beiersdorf’s derma business also continued to perform well, with 19.5% organic growth driven by its Eucerin and Aquaphor brands in 2021, largely from success in the US, Germany, Latin America and China. Derma also showed the strongest growth in e-commerce for 2021 across Beiersdorf, with its Eucerin brand now holding the highest share of e-commerce across the company – above 20%.
But it was the company’s selective cosmetics segment, featuring its La Prairie brand, that posted “the largest growth rates” for the full year thanks to recovery in travel retail. Total sales for the prestige cosmetics brand were up 6.1% in Q4 and up by more than 30% for the full year. In China, La Prairie sales rose above average, returning to “far above” the pre-crisis level of 2019, and there was also “strong recovery” in the US for the brand, Beiersdorf said.
‘Continued headwinds from input costs’
Despite a successful 2021, Hermann said Beiersdorf was expecting a “challenging year 2022” with “continued headwinds from input costs”.
The company now expected 2022 sales growth to sit in the mid, single-digit range, given the cost of raw materials, transportation and energy costs had “increased to new highs”, she said.
Moving forward, Warnery said the company would be focused on innovation in selective skin care, reinventing its flagship Nivea brand and driving further growth in the US and China to ensure continued growth in the difficult environment.