In 2021, our flexibility showed more than ever throughout the whole of Coolblue. We became increasingly adept at adjusting our way of working. At our customer service, working from home became the default. This eliminated the factor of distance between home and the office. Customer service employees only came to the office occasionally for training and teambuilding activities. As an added advantage, customer service employees can now plan their shifts more flexibly. While our stores were temporarily closed, we learned that store employees can also take up customer service tasks, which they continue to do now that the stores are open again.
2021 remained challenging with the constantly changing circumstances and guidelines related to COVID-19. We kept building on our operational learnings from 2020 and by continuing to be flexible we were able to expand our services to make even more customers happy.
100 million YouTube views
We offer customers product advice on our website, in our stores, and through our customer service. To further assist our customers in choosing the best product for their needs and explain how to use it, we record videos in which we showcase specific products. We then upload these videos to our YouTube channel where anyone can view them. In 2021, we reached a milestone of 100 million views on our YouTube channel.
Video calling with customers
The installation of a built-in appliance requires exact measurements before delivery. That is why we enhanced our customer service for built-in white goods in 2021 by adding a video-calling option. During the call, customers can ask for advice about measuring the niche dimensions. Of course, they can also get advice about the use of their new appliance. Because our experts can see what the customer sees, they can tailor their advice exactly to the customer’s needs.
Go for it
In 2021, we continued our entrepreneurial journey. We took all the necessary steps to launch a successful IPO. And even though we had to postpone our intended listing due to adverse market conditions, we kept focusing on growth and opportunities.
Initial Public Offering
In October 2021, we announced our intention to float. We had finalized all the required preparations and were ready to welcome many new shareholders. However, as market conditions deteriorated quickly in the e-commerce and retail sector, as evidenced by adjusted full-year profit expectations of European peers, we had to postpone our listing at Euronext Amsterdam.
Improvement and expansion
Stores and delivery network
We added 5 new stores to our network in 2021. Our stores serve as strategic touchpoints where a customer can experience products with their own eyes, pick up their order, and get broken devices repaired. Our stores initially also serve as a hub for our bike delivery proposition as well. Through this green and customer-friendly service, we delivered over 1 million packages by bike in 2021.
We opened new stores in Almere, Rotterdam Alexandrium, Kuurne, Wilrijk, Nijmegen, and Dusseldorf.
Warehouse mechanization continued
We took the next step in creating the warehouse of the future. We automated the picking process for parcel-sized products as well as part of our returns process. This allows us to reduce handling times and unnecessary manual movement of our products. We also installed 2 new packaging machines for medium and large-sized products.
Triggered by the increasing demand from business customers, we further expanded our Home Office Store proposition in 2021. We opened 158 Home Office Stores for employers in the Netherlands and Belgium. Through these personalized storefronts, employers offer their 46,000 employees a suitable home office, with products ranging from desks to headsets. Via our CoolblueDelivers proposition, we deliver and install the products directly at the employees’ home. The concept of a personalized storefront has allowed us to launch a variety of similar propositions, such as Choose Your Own Device and Christmas Stores. Each of these propositions offers both Coolblue’s assortment and all the services that employers have come to expect from Coolblue.
Over the course of 2021, we grew significantly in both Belgium and Germany. We opened our sixth Belgian store in Kuurne and moved our Antwerp store to a new building that is 3 times larger. In Germany, we laid the foundation for future growth by expanding our infrastructure. We opened a new depot and our first German store in Dusseldorf. And we welcomed many new German Coolbluers. Our first results show that Germans love the Coolblue proposition.
We started supplying energy and became head sponsor for Solar Team Eindhoven. And we gave our software developers a place in the spotlight.
In 2021, we ventured into the energy market and acquired ServiceHouse. We launched Coolblue Energy and became the first and only energy company that aims to sell its customers less energy. Coolblue Energy customers receive a discount on energy-saving products and on solar panels and charging stations we offer.
We became head sponsor of Solar Team Eindhoven. This sponsorship was right up our street, because it fully aligns with our energy proposition. Solar Team Eindhoven wants to demonstrate that solar energy is enough to live on and power your electric vehicle. In September 2021, they presented their Stella Vita and successfully took it for a test drive all the way to Tarifa, Spain.
Software development mostly takes place behind the screens, while the output is seen by a large number of people. To give our developers the stage they deserve, we opened the Coolblue Code Museum at 6 locations in the Netherlands and online in 2021. Here, visitors can see the actual code and listen to the developers that wrote it.
We did not see each other as much as we wanted to in 2021. Still, we had lots of fun together.
With an official certificate, Coolbluers were given their own piece of Coolblue.
We celebrate successes together. And if we cannot physically attend a store opening in Dusseldorf, we organize a livestream so that everyone who wants to can still attend.
In the brief window in which this was allowed, we rolled through the mud together during Mud Masters.
In the week of Black Friday, we hit the airwaves again with our own Coolblue radio channel through which we celebrated successes together.
To thank Coolbluers for their work, especially now that we do not see each other as often at the office, we sent them Smile Express mail, such as a plant for in their home office.
We celebrated Sinterklaas for over 800 mini-Coolbluers through the online livestream of an original Coolblue Sinterklaas story. Afterwards, we delivered a Sinterklaas gift to the mini-Coolbluers through our bike delivery proposition.
To make sure that 2022 will be the best Coolblue year ever, we will again heavily invest in growth. We share some of our plans here, while others will be revealed as 2022 progresses.
We will continue to realize our vision of a warehouse of the future. We will further optimize the way shipments are packed and explore ways in which we can reduce our CO2 emission even more. Additionally, we will, among others, invest in research and software development to further optimize our product journeys.
Delivery network and stores
In 2022, we will open more stores in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. From these stores, we are able to expand our bike delivery infrastructure. Of course, we will also expand the infrastructure for 1 and 2-man delivery.
We made our first delivery in Germany in 2020 and opened our first German store in 2021. For 2022, we plan to color North Rhine-Westphalia a little more blue by expanding our infrastructure further and opening at least one more store in Germany. With this growth, we are one step closer to our goal of reaching 1 billion euros worth of revenue in Germany
Through Coolblue Energy we will help an additional 100,000 customers reduce their energy consumption in 2022.
We continuously strive to improve our customer satisfaction and our profitability. The various customer journey improvements we implemented in 2021 have contributed to our EBITDA and a high NPS. We look back on our results and the investments made in 2021.
In order to keep setting the bar for customer-centric entrepreneurship, we always strive to improve our NPS. Thanks to various improvements to our customer journeys and despite the challenges in 2021 we have been able to keep our NPS at a high level: 67. Despite some operational challenges, we have been able to structurally grow our customer base with more and more happy customers.
Income Statement & Balance Sheet Performance
In 2021, our revenue increased by € 348 million to € 2.34 billion (+ 18%), compared to € 1.99 billion in 2020. Next to the structurally growing online market, the growth accelerated as a result of the Covid-19-related measures taken by the Dutch and Belgian governments. We outperformed the market for consumer electronics, which decreased by 0.3% in the Netherlands and increased by 1.7% in Belgium (GfK 2021). Furthermore, our revenue in Germany increased to € 94 million. The Coolblue Energy revenue increased, because of the growth of our solar and EV charging propositions and the acquisition of ServiceHouse.
The gross profit margin was in line with 2020 (2021: 21.4%, 2020: 21.5%). We further improved purchase conditions, pricing optimization, the rationalization of our product assortment, and optimal cross-sell opportunities, but also saw a more normalized market trend in pricing and availability compared to 2020 and a shift in product mix, e.g. with working from home and our sales in Germany. We focused on offering an improved range of products and services that would suit our customers best, for instance with Coolblue Energy and by further developing our own BlueBuilt brand.
The Selling & Distribution expenses as a percentage of revenue increased to 17.0% (2020: 15.6%). Where 2020 was an atypical year with lower marketing spend and stretching of our capacity, this normalized in 2021. In addition we invested in new stores and the growth of CoolblueDelivers, in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, resulting in start-up costs. We also invested in our new energy proposition Coolblue Energy.
Administrative expenses as a percentage of revenue slightly increased to 2.3% (2020: 2.1%) as a result of the expansion of CoolblueEnergy with the acquisition of ServiceHouse B.V.
The Adjusted EBITDA(**) decreased from € 114.2 mln to € 91.5 mln due to investments in new businesses like Coolblue Energy, the expansion in Germany. The EBITDA decreased from € 114.2 million in 2020 to € 88.6 million in 2021. The Adjusted EBITDA is adjusted for costs of share based payments as we made a large number of Coolbluers shareholders.
In conclusion, our net profit decreased from € 61.1 million in 2020 to € 39.2 million in 2021. The results are below last year’s, but we are pleased with the developments shown in 2021 which form a solid base for further growth in 2022. We served many new customers, whom we expect to return in 2022. We expect further growth in 2022, in part supported by a growing number of employees. The financing facilities currently in place support these growth plans.
Working capital development
The main developments in our working capital are explained by the increased inventory and the negative working capital from the acquisition of ServiceHouse with energy-related working capital balances. Our inventory increased in 2021 as a result of opening of stores, higher stock to support our private label development, and higher stock levels to prevent scarcity. We finance our growth by reinvesting our profits and optimizing our working capital. Our working capital was -/- € 266.9 million at the end of 2021 compared to -/- € 270.7 million at the end of 2020.
In 2021, we invested € 40.3 million in tangible fixed assets (2020: € 17.0 million). This mainly relates to investments in our infrastructure, such as new stores, significant investments in mechanisation of our warehouse in Tilburg, and IT hardware, but it also relates to the growth of our white goods subscriptions Products-as-a-Service. We invested € 13.5 million in intangible fixed assets (2020: € 11.9 million). This relates to a part of the software development costs of our website and back-office systems, such as a new warehouse management system and Coolblue Energy.
Improved statement of financial position
Adding the net result for 2021 to equity results in a solvability of 20% (2020: 18%), while the current ratio (******) (excluding receivables from shareholder) remained stable at 0.9 (2020: 0.9). We did not pay any dividends and strengthened our equity position instead. The receivable from the shareholder is available on demand. Our shareholder Mondhoekie B.V. extended the financing in 2021, which resulted in a credit facility for a 3-year period.