Beurer about copycats from Asia
“We find products that we take action against almost every day”
December 8, 2023, 5:39 p.m
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The Ulm-based medium-sized company Beurer grew up with electric blankets. Today, 100 years after its founding, it sells feel-good products on a large scale. Company boss Sebastian Kebbe talks about a growth market – and the cheaper competition from Asia.
Is the electric blanket in high season now?
Sebastian Kebbe: This is of course a seasonal product. Especially in European regions where we have low temperatures in winter. But there are also other countries in the world where the heating pad or electric blanket is not the focus. In southern Europe, heating is not part of the standard equipment in a house; people rather use direct heat. Electric heated underblankets are primarily used.
The electric blanket is a bit of a cliché in Germany. What role does it still play for you?
It is true that the electric blanket represents a certain image, but that is actually no longer true. The target groups are getting younger and younger. It plays a role in the company because it represents our origins. The percentage of sales is no longer that significant. Especially because we now have so many other product groups.
You are active in the wellness market, a rapidly growing market. How susceptible is it to economic fluctuations like the ones we are currently experiencing?
In Germany we have a penchant for making our own house or surroundings beautiful. We are therefore not affected quite as badly and are still seeing good demand. We also feel a reluctance to use some products, while others are more stable. And there are areas that are really trendy.
They sell in over 100 countries. Are these feel-good products understood the same way everywhere? Or are there regional differences?
Of course, economic development plays a role. In countries that are not so economically developed, people’s needs are different. It’s more about maintaining health and therapy. And not so much about the I-treat-myself products.
So you have to be able to afford wellness?
To a certain extent yes, certainly.
How is the market developing in Germany?
The knowledge and desire to care for your body has become increasingly widespread. Even during the pandemic, many people have realized that a good constitution is important. Blood pressure, for example, is a chronic mass disease that is becoming more and more widely known. And that’s why more is being invested, for example in measuring devices.
How strong is the competition from Chinese products, which often come with lower prices?
We have always been in a highly competitive environment. The e-commerce platforms in particular are bringing a lot of Asian products onto the European markets. We don’t shy away from competition because we stand for longevity and quality. What we are concerned about is a glut of products that do not comply with many of the regulations applicable in Europe. Products that do not have CE approval. Those about which medical statements are made that have not been tested.
And they still end up on the market here?
Yes that is unfortunately so. I can only recommend looking carefully at what you are buying. There is a lot available on the internet platforms. We find products that we take action against almost every day. The EU and the federal government have recognized this issue and have initiated measures. But there is still a great need to put a stop to it.
Do you have a problem with brand piracy?
Not in the sense that someone is using our trademark incorrectly. But we see that attempts are being made to copy successful products. And there we often find clear violations of German or European legislation.
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