Well done: How Weber’s sales sizzled and ad spending soared during the pandemic
Weber’s sales sizzled and advertising surged during the pandemic. The company is now building on that momentum with an initial public offering.
Weber’s 903-page IPO filing this month offers an inside look at the nation’s and world’s biggest marketer of outdoor grills. Hot stats about Weber:
28% increase in worldwide ad spending
For the fiscal year that ended in September 2020. Weber spent $69 million on advertising, equal to 4.5% of net sales. Worldwide sales jumped 18% to $1.5 billion. In the six months that ended March 31, 2021, ad spending soared 74%, with sales climbing 62%.
24% worldwide market share
In 2020, according to figures in the filing from research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. Weber says it’s No. 1 in the U.S. (23% share), Germany, Australia, Canada and France, “the five largest grilling markets in the world.” The suburban Chicago company sells its products in 78 countries and gets a bit more than half of sales from the U.S.
20% of sales from DTC and e-commerce
Portion of Weber’s 2020 global revenue that came from direct-to-consumer (Weber.com, Weber retail stores, Weber Grill Academy “experience centers”) and e-commerce channels (including online platforms of Costco, Home Depot, Lowe's and Walmart and online retailers Amazon and Wayfair).
65 million global visits to Weber.com
In 2020, up 83% from 2019. Weber.com is the company’s fastest-growing retail channel, with a compounded annual revenue growth rate of 135% from 2018 to 2020. The filing notes: “Weber.com is a strategic focus as we believe consumers enjoy engaging directly with our brand through this channel.”
Weber intends to build on those connections. “We currently maintain a database of millions of registered consumers,” the filing said. “That base, supplemented with new data from sources like Weber.com and our connected products [for example, services through a mobile app], gives us the ability to personalize marketing, promotional offers and programs to drive increased consumer loyalty. This will open up new revenue streams like incremental accessory sales and new customized subscription services.”
3 million followers
Weber followers across social media accounts including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at the end of 2020—up 30% from 2019.
40+ new hires
New hires made over the past 12 months in consumer insights, analytics and marketing “to strengthen our marketing organization and build broader capabilities.” Weber brought on Mary Sagripanti, a veteran of Amazon and Kraft Foods, as chief marketing officer in February.
1952: George Stephen invents Weber Kettle grill
George Stephen, an employee at Weber Brothers Metal Works, invented the iconic Weber charcoal grill by cutting a metal buoy in half and adding vent holes and legs. He bought the company and changed the name to Weber-Stephen Products. The company will take the name Weber Inc. after the IPO.
10% annual growth since 1980
Weber’s compounded annual revenue growth rate from 1980 (worldwide sales: $37 million) to 2021. (To be clear, Weber sales don't always go up. The filing shows that worldwide sales were roughly flat in the six-year period of 2014 through 2019.)
55% of grills made in USA
Percentage of Weber grills produced in the U.S. (in a factory in Illinois). The rest come from factories in China and Taiwan. Weber is opening a factory this year in Poland.