Annual Report 2021

Annual Report 2021



Sanitary industry working to capacity

In the reporting year, new record sales are likely to have been achieved in numerous European wholesale and installation companies as well as in planning offices. This led to a change – not only due to the pandemic – in information habits. Sanitary entrepreneurs, sanitary engineers, trade staff and other groups involved in construction found out in the first year of the pandemic that more and more relevant information can be accessed online, regardless of time and place. In the reporting year, many industry events such as trade fairs, training courses and seminars were once again, at least in part, held digitally. Geberit took this development into account both in its direct customer service approach and in market cultivation with a number of measures and innovative concepts.

Close partnership with wholesalers

In Geberit’s three-stage business model, wholesalers play a key role. Wholesalers offer plumbers the entire range of products across the various product categories in the field of sanitary technology and heating applications. They ensure availability through warehousing and a nationwide network of pick-up points as well as the logistics to plumbing companies and construction sites. Furthermore, in many countries wholesalers have showrooms where they can advise end users on the selection of sanitary products. The close cooperation between Geberit and its wholesale partners can be briefly outlined using two examples:

  • In an increasing number of European markets, installation companies rely on the fact that they can find all the standard sanitary products they need at their local wholesaler pick-up point and can then even install the products at the customer’s premises on the same day. For many craftsmen, a quick trip to their local pick-up point has thus become a standard part of everyday work. The plumbers also use such visits to find out about the latest news such as, for example, new products. This is why Geberit has continuously intensified its cooperation with these points of sale in recent years. The measures include tailor-made training sessions for the staff at the pick-up points, the organisation of local “counter days” to present new products to the craft sector directly at the pick-up point, as well as joint, tailor-made marketing activities to support wholesalers in selling products.
  • In terms of the launch of the new FlowFit supply system, Geberit limited itself to the markets Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands in the reporting year. Nearly half a year before the official sales launch in spring, the new supply system was presented to the sales staff and advisors in wholesale in these markets as part of dedicated events and one-to-one discussions. This not only gave wholesalers the opportunity to build up inventories in good time, but also made it possible for them to provide in-depth advice to customers from the very beginning and thus actively shape the market launch.

Close coordination with the wholesale partners regarding the availability of key articles as well as being able to find solutions fast in the event of any emerging shortages have a very high priority at Geberit. Thus, despite individual bottlenecks in the purchasing of raw materials, availability for craftsmen was maintained at a very high level in the reporting year.

To be able to support wholesalers to the greatest possible extent in the structured processing and efficient use of product information, the corresponding data has been adapted to meet ETIM 7 (Electro-Technical Information Model) standard. This meant the product data for more than 29,000 items had to be extended.

Dedicated support given to installation companies and planning offices

A significant share of the varied marketing activities was once again targeted at plumbers and sanitary engineers in the reporting year. This especially applies to the ongoing, personalised and frequently project-related support given to installation companies and planning offices by technical advisors and other sales representatives.

In most markets, the restrictions enforced due to COVID-19 from the previous year were at least temporarily lifted or reduced. From the early summer of 2021, face-to-face customer visits became increasingly possible and were carried out intensively. At the same time, digital visit and meeting formats were retained and expanded as they had proven useful and established themselves in many cases. The goal of being there for customers and offering all-round support in their work at all times – even in these difficult times – was once again achieved. The intensified customer relationships were also reflected in the fact that the number of e-newsletters sent out – 4.1 million – again reached the high level of the previous year. Even though the tracking policy was adjusted to comply with stricter data protection regulations, the number of hits on Geberit’s websites worldwide also totalled 25 million. In the reporting year, these websites were technically revised in twelve markets.

Strong partner for project business

Geberit know-how for roof and building drainage and for the construction of sanitary facilities is implemented in countless major international projects. Significant advantages for the responsible parties and craftsmen in these major projects are the space-saving and installation-friendly systems and the expert technical support in planning and design.

One of Geberit’s main focuses in project business is the strongly developed support in the area of BIM (Building Information Modelling) – a digital interdisciplinary planning method for optimising the entire planning and building process. Architects, sanitary engineers and building owners use BIM to share information efficiently. This helps them to avoid planning errors and improve productivity, which brings advantages in major construction projects in particular. For a number of years now, Geberit has been providing BIM users with support in the form of product data and calculation modules. A special plug-in has been developed for the Revit planning software, which enables direct access to 3D models and corresponding planning parameters that are always kept up to date. The low data size of the individual files allows them to be used efficiently. In the reporting year, all calculation modules were integrated in a comprehensive new plug-in and extended with the catalogue data for ceramic and furnishing products. The new BIM plug-in from Geberit is available worldwide and offers complete access to all catalogue data and applications from Geberit. So far, the plug-in has been downloaded by more than 6,500 planning and engineering companies.

Geberit Innovation Days – a global online event

There were no trade fairs anywhere in the world in the first half of the reporting year. This is why Geberit came up with something very special to be able to present new products and maintain dialogue with the professional community: the global online event “Geberit Innovation Days”. A hybrid trade fair booth – the “House of Geberit” – was set up for this purpose. Hybrid because although the stand was actually set up on an area of more than 300 m2 and was equipped with numerous new products, it could only be visited via a digital platform.

Over a period of several weeks, filming took place in the House of Geberit for the numerous product presentations and discussions with experts, which customers could then watch during the Innovation Days. Visitors were able to put together their own individual agenda beforehand and register for presentations on a wide range of topics. They also had the possibility of contacting Geberit specialists directly.

During the Innovation Days in March and April, around 10,000 interested parties from more than 40 countries logged on and visited the webinars on offer. All webinars were uploaded to the local Geberit websites after the Innovation Days and visited more than 53,000 times by the end of the year.

Virtual showrooms very popular

The virtual showrooms launched the previous year were adapted to suit further markets. These showrooms offer a good overview of the wide range of products and new products in the respective market. They also provide additional information in the form of short videos, graphics and links, and offer visitors the opportunity of tailoring their own showroom experience. 13 markets are currently operating virtual showrooms – in the reporting year, they were visited by a total of 24,000 customers.

Classroom training sessions and web-based seminars and training programmes

In spite of the restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was possible to provide around 36,000 (previous year 27,000) professionals with face-to-face training on products, tools, software tools and installation skills at the 30 Geberit Information Centres in Europe and overseas. This more or less corresponds to the number of participants recorded before the pandemic. At the same time, local events and counter days were organised in numerous markets – often together with wholesalers – to train craftsmen on new products. More than 38,000 customers took part in such events. The normalisation in face-to-face training and the personal transfer of know-how and expertise resulted in a decline in the number of web-based seminars and training sessions, with a total of 29,000 participants (previous year 52,000). Nevertheless, webinars and eLearning courses that take place over the Internet now occupy a firm and important place in Geberit’s training offer.

Digital tools for sanitary engineers and plumbers

The relevant skills in customer support and sales promotion were further expanded, with the aim of supporting professional customers in everyday working life with digital tools that are as needs-oriented as possible. A new web-based application was offered to sanitary engineers and plumbers in the reporting year, which can be used to plan and calculate prewall constructions (GIS and Duofix systems). This application also facilitates the fast creation of cost estimates.

Marketing campaign for end users continued

The end user campaign launched in autumn 2019 under the title “Better bathrooms, better lives” was rolled out in further European markets in the reporting year, and is now running in 15 countries. Increasing the level of communication with end users helps firmly establish the Geberit brand among this target group.

The campaign consists of three digital elements: an advertising campaign in digital media, the websites of the local Geberit sales companies with various digital applications such as configurators and planning tools, and a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Interested parties then receive additional advice and support from qualified specialists after they register in the CRM system. In the reporting year, the campaign generated 4.7 million visits to the corresponding websites and more than 36,000 end user registrations in the CRM system (previous year 17,000). A web-based actuator plate showroom was also developed for end users. It is intended to support customers in their choice as the current range offers a large number of different models and styles. This showroom was rolled out in 28 markets in the reporting year.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a strong increase in the number of private renovation projects in numerous markets. In light of this, Geberit launched a renovation campaign with additional cashback incentives on social media channels in ten European markets. A total of 6,300 customers benefited from this offer.

Targeting customers via social media

The social media presence was further expanded and intensified in the reporting year. The focal points included targeted support of sales activities. The target groups here were professional decision-makers and end users, who were addressed with targeted advertising formats and editorial content. Geberit used the most popular social media channels for these activities and informed the constantly growing communities on Facebook (347,000 followers), Instagram (136,000 followers), YouTube (77,000 followers/47 million views), LinkedIn (94,000 followers), Twitter (17,000 followers) and Pinterest (5,700 followers).

Campaign for shower toilets continued

Local celebrities were involved in the advertising campaign in all 15 markets hosting the campaign for AquaClean shower toilets. These local heroes – outstanding personalities from the worlds of sport, music and entertainment – not only addressed end users in print ads and TV commercials, but also took part in events and competitions.

As a result of the large number of event cancellations, there were only limited opportunities for the AquaClean truck, mobile AquaClean WC lounges and the AquaClean trailers, such as the Zurich Film Festival. The year saw a continuation of the campaign running in Germany and Switzerland with a test set, which can be connected temporarily with an existing WC ceramic appliance in just a few steps and without tools. The test set can be ordered free of charge for 14 days, and is sent out and returned by post.

The international sales initiative for hotels again made encouraging progress. This meant that prestigious hotel projects could once more be acquired in the reporting year. The number of four- and five-star hotels equipped with AquaClean shower toilets in Europe is now almost 600.