The Group sells into over 70 countries around the world where our brands and products are enjoyed by millions of consumers. Our key markets are the UK, the USA and South Korea.
Our vision to be a leading force in the global homeware sector relies on our ability to adapt to changes in our marketplace. The ways in which our customers, and customers of our customers, purchase products are evolving. In addition, the origin and sustainability of products are increasingly impacting consumers’ purchasing decisions. We are mindful of these changes and see them as opportunities to grow our business.
The UK was the second largest market for the Group in 2020, with sales of £31.8 million (2019: £32.6 million) or 36% of the Group’s total revenue.
The UK market remains competitive, and the Covid-19 pandemic increased the accelerating trend of traditional retail store sales being transitioned to online shopping.
With non-essential retail lockdowns dominating the 2020 year, our sales to traditional department stores declined, but were compensated by significant growth on our website and via third party online channels.
2020 was a challenging year but the Group coped well with the significant shift of retail to online channels. We continue to invest in our e-commerce platforms and direct to consumer fulfilment capabilities.
As retail reopens following the first quarter lockdown of 2021, we will monitor their performance and support our external customers as footfall returns to stores.
The United States was the largest market for the Group in 2020, accounting for £33.5 million (2019: £32.5 million) or 38% of the Group’s revenue.
Similar to the UK, the Covid-19 pandemic saw a rapid acceleration of sales made in online channels both through the US websites and third parties. We expect this trend to continue even when wider travel is permitted.
Sales made via traditional channels were impacted by various lockdowns introduced state by state in 2020, and a number of department stores experienced bankruptcy. The stronger core retail operators grew significantly online and the US warehouses were able to match the increased dropship fulfilment requirements.
The websites for Portmeirion USA and Nambé both grew strongly and we anticipate further growth in 2021 with improved online functionality and warehouse investment.
Sales made to South Korea were £13.1 million (2019: £20.8 million) or 15% of total Group sales in 2020.
South Korea was the first of our major markets to be impacted by Covid-19 in the first quarter of 2020. The swift action taken meant that Covid-19 rates were relatively low, and retail was able to remain open throughout the remainder of 2020.
We remain committed to a disciplined approach in South Korea where other distributors have parallel shipped product into this market.
Sales into South Korea reduced in 2020 as part of our more disciplined approach to this market. However, the new products launched in 2019 have started to sell strongly and overstocking in this market has reduced.
We are well positioned to stabilise and return to growth in this market in 2021 and beyond.
The Group sells into more than 70 countries around the world, which accounts for £9.4 million (2019: £7.0 million) or 11% of the Group’s revenue.
The Covid-19 pandemic was widespread in 2020 and impacted most of the 70 countries we sell into. However, some markets were locked down earlier and had relatively low levels of infection, and we experienced strong growth in a number of markets including Australia and Canada following the purchase of Portmeirion Canada.
The Group’s sales into Europe account for less than 5% of total sales, and whilst there is potential for disruption and some additional cost following the conclusion of Brexit negotiations we do not expect the impact to be material.
We continue to support and work with our customers around the world following the Covid-19 outbreak, and the shift to growth in sales from online channels rather than physical retail stores.
We are targeting growth in a number of key new export markets in 2021 and investing in our capabilities to facilitate this.