How does Thermomix profit in an uncertain economy?


Thermomix Spain’s newest CEO Ignacio Fernández Simal

Thermomix celebrated a multifaceted victory in Spain this past week with the announcement of record-breaking sales of 96.5 million euros in 2011 — an increase of more than 3% over 2010. Even more remarkable is that this feat was achieved despite — and quite possibly because of — an economic downturn. No matter how you slice it, these are numbers to be proud of in a country where economic woes are more likely to be front page news.

Thermomix shines bright in dark economic times
In a recent press release Spanish headquarters reported sales of 113,124 TM31 units at 956 Euros — and all accomplished without conventional advertising and retail exposure. This puts Thermomix into just under 1.5 million Spanish homes to date. The Vorwerk-built German kitchen machine was first introduced to Spain in 1978. Over the course of 34 years popularity has been steadily fueled by the passion of its fans and Thermomix  now enjoys 80% brand awareness in Spain, with 9% market penetration. Indeed, Spain leads all countries for number of Thermomix per households beating Italy, France, and Germany.

So what about the numbers?
If you think these numbers sounds like a marketing brochure, I wouldn’t blame you. I am not a numbers person, but I like these. Why? Because there is I think, an important message in the numbers. The message is for people who may not yet now what a Thermomix is. Many who visit here are in that position. As was I in the summer of 2009. Living in a country where Thermomix was — and still is — virtually unknown I was curious, doubtful, and hungry for information about a very expensive machine that begged for a place in my kitchen. I had no friend or neighbour to turn to for honest feedback. I wanted opinions yes, and more. I wanted facts.  And these numbers are fact.

So to all ye Thermomix-curious who want to know what drives the hype — I say “read on”. Let the numbers speak their truth. Thermomix is popular around the world because it makes cooking more easy, more healthy, and more fun. Whether you live in Spain, Germany, Australia, Italy, France, UK, or Malaysia — Thermomix is something you will enjoy using for the rest of your life. It will feed your family, your creativity, and  your passion. All those Spaniards (and Australians) can’t be wrong.

Strength in numbers, strength in demonstrators
Thermomix Spain’s newest CEO Ignacio Fernández Simal told media (1, 2, 3, 4) last week that he credits the company’s success to a powerful sales network of 7000 demonstrators working from 65 well-supported branches. The force of Spanish Thermomix consultants (90% female) works for a commission of 123 – 250 euros ($150 – $300 AUD) per unit. And selling six machines in one month gains the demonstrator a free Thermomix! It’s reported that last year’s star demonstrator sold 300 Thermomix machines — almost one per day!

This bank of teaching-consultants grows yearly, but even more during hard times. Part of the success of 2011 is attributed to economic recession which created renewed desire for home-cooked meals and fresh opportunities for those turning to self-employment. (Provided the consultant owns a Thermomix, it’s possible to generate income without further investment.)

Beyond kitchen machines, Thermomix cookbooks account for additional sales of 2 million. A monthly magazine with circulation of 65,000 adds one more million to the pot.

More growth potential
According to directors of Thermomix Spain there is still room for Thermomix to gain popularity in all areas. The goal for 2012 is well underway towards increasing sales by 10% in all areas, and particularly in northern Spain.

In a land that is famous for its chefs, restaurants (one boasts 12 Thermomix machines!), and regional cuisines Thermomix is the ideal tool for ny home cook to prepare world-class meals with fresh natural ingredients. Most popular in Spain are Thermomix recipes for seafoods and meat stews, soups, and steamed dishes.

Want more?

See 36 comments from people who cook with Thermomix:

  1. Nora March 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Wow, 300 thermomix per year for a demonstrator, that’s good going! Thanks for this insight on Thermomix sales in Spain.

  2. ThermomixBlogger Helene March 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    Hi Nora — glad you enjoyed it. Even though I’m not a demonstrator and don’t work for Thermomix, I love to observe the similarities and differences between Thermomix operations around the world ;-) Let’s be realistic… that woman who sold 300 machines is an exception. And this could probably only happen in Spain. Still, it’s a measure of what is possible. Who knows, maybe more next year?!

  3. Mara March 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    300… She’s a machine herself, I’m sure. Yes, she’s probably the Thermomix of demonstrators, beating them all with all her super cool features.

  4. ThermomixBlogger Helene March 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    Oh yes, she is a machine allright. She is a super Thermomix demonstrating machine ;-)

  5. Cristina March 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    wow 300!!!! that must be a record for any consultant around the world.

    I think I must have contributed to the good sales in Spain as even though I live in Australia I bought mine at home in Spain and took it with me on the plane (in hand luggage of course, except the blades!)

  6. ThermomixBlogger Helene March 4, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Well indeed Cristina… and you are not alone…
    I received a private email yesterday from someone in Australia who saw this article and decided to fly to Spain to buy her Thermomix! (shocking but true!)

  7. Gretchen March 4, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    Very interesting article . You have to ask yourself the question ” If we weren’t paying a commission to the consultant, the consultants group leader, the manager and all the way to the distributor then on to Vorwerk, how much is the machine actually worth ex factory ?”.
    Then you might ask yourself how much would one pay if the Thermomix was sold in a shop? Considerably less I should think.

    No way I want to put the hard working consultants out of business but it is a bit of pyramid selling operation. Perhaps this is another reason why it is not sold in the US.

    You can now understand why consultants are not allowed freedom to be more creative. They are just treated as working bees to feed the Queen or distributor .

  8. mary March 24, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    Thermomixes are very overpriced in Australia. You can save about $500 dollars, sometimes more, buying one from Spain on ebay. Offers a similar warranty as well, but TM Aus stern disapproval. There is a one person monopoly to distribution here.

  9. ThermomixBlogger Helene March 25, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Hi Mary — In most countries, Thermomix sales are handled by only one distributor. (note that I said “most” not “all”) I’m not sure about the situation you describe because I do not work for Thermomix, but my hunch is that any Thermomix being sold as new on ebay is NOT legitimate and service would not be supported. I believe that if the authorized Thermomix distributor for Spain was selling on ebay, that distributor would be in the wrong. I highly doubt that any online sales from Spain are legit.

    I know that Vorwerk in Wuppertal and Thermomix distributors around the world read this blog. They are more than welcome to comment in reply to this question you raise.

  10. Mara March 25, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    I didn’t know it could be that more expensive than in Spain, it’s shocking. At least here we wouldn’t be able to buy anything cheaper from the outside because the moment your goods arrive, they are held in customs (until you pay tax on imported goods) and more often than not your final price ends up being even higher.

  11. Para March 26, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    Helene,
    I think the situation in ebay is simple.You just have to buy it in spain and sell again online – if the price difference is quite a fair bit.

    Most likely it is not distributor selling online , but just people that saw opportunities and buy TM to re-sell. You are not signing contract not to allow you to re-sell so in theory it should be legit.

    Of course – the point here is whether you trust the seller in ebay – that they give the real TM – unused.

  12. Leanne March 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    Hi ladies, I have a friend who is a thermomix consultant and got her opinion on some of the points brought up here. She pointed out that even in a shop you pay mark up’s as the product comes down the line from the initial manufaturer, so the commission that is paid to the Consultant and the small amount that the Team Leader gets is very comparable to the shop system. I dont believe from what she told me that it is the dreaded pyramid selling at all.

    I also have another friend who’s Mum bought a TM from overseas online about 2 months ago – she is now having to pay the few hundred she saved in tax as Mara mentioned and still hasnt got her machine. So personally, I am glad I purchased mine through the Australian consultant. With all the work she did demonstrating for me, personally delivering & setting up my machine and the follow-up contact she has made ensuing I get the most out of it – I am glad that she got paid commission from my sale! Plus, if it was just in a shop I would never have bought one – it was only once I was able to see it in a full demonstration, speak to a knowledgable consultant, and research it online that I could see it’s true value. Worth every penny in my opinion and those who work to bring them to us should be paid!

  13. Gdaiva April 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    I still don’t understand, why is it a crime for a consultant to sell machine over the ebay? Doesn’t seem logical, what is the difference how its sold.
    I’m not a consultant, since I live in US, I wish I was.
    I belive those consultants are selling on ebay, since there is a bunch and they start from a few dollars. I keep hunting, but can’t make myself to pay 1500$.

  14. Monica April 4, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Well, I’m an Australian who recently bought a brand new machine from Spain. I shop around for the best price for almost everything I buy so why not the TMX? I saved over $600 (including delivery and insurance) and got a brand new machine that I’m extremely happy with. The seller assures me it is covered by an international warranty, but of course this is yet to be tested. However, given the reputation, German patent and French made, I’m thinking that I would have to be extremely unlucky to require servicing within the first two years. For a saving of $600, I’m more than prepared to unpack the machine myself (there’s a youtube video) and teach myself how to use the machine which I have done so very successfully. As such, I would encourage more people to do what I have done otherwise the sole Australian distributor will continue to price gauge despite the strong Australian dollar. That’s not right and is unethical in my view. Prices on almost every other electrical appliance has come down, why not the TMX?

  15. an Australian Consultant April 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    A very interesting discussion thread I must say. I’ll have my 5c worth if I may :-)

    Purchasing a TMX from overseas…. Everyone as the right to do whatever they please in the purchasing world, but think carefully first…. There is the saying – caveat emptor [buyer beware]

    If you are buying from Ebay or overseas, consider a couple of things,

    1) you’ll still need to buy an english cookbook if you don’t read spanish
    2) you don’t get to get any of the very generous extra gifts that accompany the Thermomix (a $60 cookbook the last couple of months) or the Thermoserver at your demo (another $60 rrp) any future benefits (eg: extra servers, cookbooks or, like this month a $60 mat at a Varoma demo OR the offer of a 1/2 price second bowl that was offered twice last year to current Australian thermomix owners)
    3) you have to pay TAX when it comes in to your country
    4) you need an electrician [extra charge] to change the plug or (I have heard) you void your house insurance warranty and
    5) you better hope it arrives in one piece (I have a picture of one that didn’t!) AND that it is the right product (I have a customer who got a kids version)

    and you’ll notice I still haven’t mentioned the consultant that makes sure you not only can use… but get the best out of… your thermomix. Who will be at your beck and call for any problems or questions.

    Then the question that was raised about pyramid selling – come on guys, pyramid schemes DON’T SELL ANYTHING! They sell an idea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_scheme)

    Lets talk about something you buy at a store for a sec.
    1)Lets look at the product itself… there are component maker, the ideas person, the engineers, the designers, their managers, their CEO and their company….
    2)then the delivery guys,
    3)then the store itself….. the Share Holders, the CEO. the Area Managers, the Store managers, the Department Managers, the retail people. Then any franchise costs. Rental, electricity, workcover, insurance, ADVERTISING costs, Marketing (and all their levels of management and on costs), Accountants… have I missed anything? THEY all get paid folks – no matter what bargain you think you are getting…. they all get paid!!.

    I think you’ll find Thermomix has a very flat structure and the consultant fee? they absorb much of the costs shown above including paying tax on their income.

    Where’s the advertising costs… oh that’s right… they don’t have any, it’s word of mouth.

    And what’s more – the people who put the TMX together are PAID at a true level…. more than I can say for what I hear about many a large corporation’s sweat shops!

    As for Monopoly… gee… I can’t even take one product I bought from one Harvey Norman store into ANOTHER Harvey Norman store for a refund. Be realistic guys!

    It also surprises me that people who attempt to buy products made by their country (we have a saying… buy Australian – I’m sure most countries have something similar) won’t buy from THEIR OWN country’s Thermomix company.

    I think I’ve covered enough. What I am really saying is be careful, make an informed decision, don’t bandy terms about that aren’t pertinent and if you are Australian? BUY AUSTRALIAN and keep the money at home to be ASSURED of quality! [insert your own country there]

  16. High Australian$ April 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    “an Australian Consultant” – one thing you haven’t addressed: shouldn’t there be an adjustment to the price because of the high Australian dollar that has been high for quite a while now?

  17. An Australian Consultant April 19, 2012 at 12:24 am #

    Yes – it is true, the Australian Dollar is high – it has crept higher in the two years since I’ve been a consultant.

    What is not so obvious is the fact that in the past 18 months or so – there HAS been adjustments to the price of the Thermomix which come in the form of increases in “extra” benefits for the person purchasing a Thermomix in Australia.

    For instance, the $40 Thermomix delivery charge has been disbanded and no Host now pays postage on any demonstration gift – another $10-40. In addition, the company provided “extra” gifts given on purchase has increased from nothing or merely a “tea towel” to $30-$60 books, Thermomats or extra Thermoservers – and twice last year they offered interest free finance where the Australian COMPANY *picked up the extra interest on behalf of the applicants* (not done previously). There were also offers of half price bowl purchases twice last year.

    I do understand that on the face of it it appears that the price has not gone down… but the amount/number of “extras” has most certainly gone up! – and a new Thermomix owner today would be receiving considerably more than an owner who purchased their Thermomix a year or two ago.

    check it out :-))

  18. Monica April 28, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    The “extra” gifts the Australian consultant refers to are not entirely “free” or “extra” gifts for owners but are in fact “incentives” to enable consultants to show their thermomix wares to other potential buyers. In fact, many aren’t even “free” or “gifts” but are simply very marginal discounts on the marketed price. Additionally, buying a thermomix from a sole monopoly supplier cannot be regarded as “buy Australian” because if it was then buying a Hyundai car from an Australian importer would also be regarded as “buy Australian” and it clearly is not. The TMX is a fully imported product so the only “Australian” thing about it is the monopoly supplier charging Australian buyers approxinately 33% more than their overseas counterparts.

    Lastly, what would the majority of interested buyers want, $600 in their pockets upfront, or the possible saving of $30 to $50 discount on the future purchase of an accessory if they host another demonstration in their homes? I know what my answer is and would be interested in the view of the Australian consultant.

  19. Alienated Australian Thermomixer June 8, 2012 at 2:12 am #

    Another Aussie here not willing to be ripped off by the pyramid like selling of TMs in Australia. Mine came from Spain for $1250. As for the Australian “gifts”, give me a break. I can get them on eBay or from friends who are sick of the “gifts”. $750 in my pocket buys a lot of extras. The TM business is not giving Aussies a fair go, and guess what, it’s not Aussie made the buy Australian line doesn’t wash with me. I don’t think TM Aus will be supported in the long term so enjoy your $750 markup while you can still get it. I’m telling everyone I know to go Spanish to stop the Aussie TM markup

  20. Erica June 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    Hi Monica, Alienated Australian Thermomixer and others,

    I’m a Thermomix consultant here in Australia. As a consultant, I have absolutely no control over the price of the TM so I won’t even go there.
    I do, however, firmly believe in the product I sell and I provide my customers with excellent customer service, even if I do say so myself!
    Consultants make no pretenses that our customers are “buying Australian”.. The TM is engineered and assembled in Europe and I must say that those Europeans do a mighty fine job of both.
    Australian customers who choose to purchase through a consultant are, however, buying FROM an Australian and I think it’s important to make this point very clear. Consultants in Australia each run their own business. Every time someone buys from overseas then this customer has chosen not to support local business.
    I would reccommend that any Australian considering buying from overseas has a read of the following link:
    http://www.thermomix.com.au/fraudulentsales.aspx
    Often an online seller is bogus – it doesn’t really matter how much you pay if the product doesn’t actually turn up! In addition, service repair centres here are not authorised to service a Thermomix that has been purchased from overseas so you will need to ship it back to wherever you bought it (at considerable cost) if it needs repairing.

    So, support local business – the consultants on the ground. You won’t be disappointed. You will get a genuine product, full warranty, a cookbook you can read and top notch customer service :)

    Cheers, Erica.

  21. ThermomixBlogger Helene June 9, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    Thanks Erica for sharing the perspective of a Thermomix consultant — your input speaks volumes and I appreciate that you took the time to contribute to this discussion.

  22. Gdaiva December 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Thermomixes showed up o ebay again. Im so frustrated since Im in US and still dont have Thermomix, last year they were shipping from Canada, I was moving and wasn’t ready to buy, now they they dont ship to US. And the price went up, when I called to Canada, they say its because dollar exchange rate, but funny the Canadian and US dollar rate is in favor to lower hte prices. Recently I visited Europe and went to presentation and it cost 1000 euros, so its 1300$, but I was stupid enough not to buy, cuz thought I’ll get it from Canada, ha ha ha.
    Came back, called to Canada, and they dont ship, yes, I could find a friend in Canada and ask to ship for me, but it would become like 2000$.
    Anyway, sorry for my whining.
    Wanted to ask, Thermomixes just showed up on ebay again, anybody bought from ebay?
    p.s. got obsessed with it, want it so bad :).

  23. Dozza December 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    Will everyone stop whining about the price of a Thermomix! It’s all relative! Do you want one? So pay for it and support your local consultant – it may not be an Australian product but your consultant lives local and will also spend the money they earn on their sales locally. Do you get paid for your job? Why shouldn’t TM consultants be paid for what they do? Grow up people.

  24. John February 16, 2013 at 1:04 am #

    We need another Australian consultant that doesnt rip everyone off. The global Thermomix company could make millions more if it was sold at a comparable price to the rest of the world. The market here is ready to explode but is being crippled by the current australian consultants personal greed.

  25. Ginny February 16, 2013 at 2:06 am #

    Wow John! Hurtful! I’m a consultant and I don’t rip anyone off. The price remains the same whoever I sell to. Thermomix Australia are so above board I had to have an ABN to become a consultant. I joined so I could earn a free Thermomix but have stayed with the business because of the long term savings in grocery costs and power savings. Also, oddly enough , I decided to make it a small business. Forgive me for wanting to make a living. Like most people who work, I do it to make money. If I worked harder I’d make more but I am really happy with where I am. This is not greed, this is life. Do you work? Yes? I presume you do it to support yourself and perhaps a family. Build a bridge John and get over it. People work for a living, most without ripping off others.

  26. john February 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    Sorry i dont mean the people selling them in houses. I mean the one person in australia who has the thermomix deal and sets the selling price and gets a cut of every single unit sold here. She is actually ripping you off too by making it harder to sell them at the hugely inflated Australian price.

    The gap is so huge a consultant in spain can sell to a resident, get their commission. then the resident can stick their thermomix on ebay and sell it to an australian and make some money. And even after all the extras taxes on top of that an Australian still saves over $500 buying from spain.

    Look at the thermomixes being sold on ebay right now. The legit spanish seller is selling one everyday and almost every one of them is being sold to an Australian. They even mention supplying an australian plug as we buy so many.

    All these Australians should not have to risk buying from spain and getting a damaged unit that they have to post back. If you convert all the other countries prices to AU$ they are comparable. Its just us and NZ who are getting completely taken advantage of.

  27. Ginny February 17, 2013 at 12:10 am #

    Thanks John, apology accepted.

  28. john February 17, 2013 at 1:34 am #

    Looks like i can buy thermomix here for $1950
    Or spend 3 nights in Paris and pick one up while i am there for a total including thermomix of under $2700 including airfares and 3 nights accommodation through a travelagent. Makes for a pretty cheap holiday :)

  29. Shane arnold March 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    You guys are nuts!! I just paid full book for a Thermomix and i am a happy purchaser. The consultant is the best trained sales person i have ever seen selling any appliance out there. Janet Snell explained why i should buy the machine and warranty was a key focus of mine that she answered fully. Heres the thing with buying overseas and bringing back to OZ. if everyone purchased from overseas and the australian branch could not run their service obligations your world wide warranty will be worthless. AUD creaping in value has really only been against the greenback and against the Euro its experienced a minute increase in value and TM trades on the Euro so thats that argument gone. Then there is cost re-assignment. Perhaps TM is re-assigning costs of the spanish machines to others to help a struggling economy, some governments support companies better that do that sort of thing.

    I am proud that my purchase helped an australian business and contributed to an Australians employment.

    The grey market importers buying from spain will receive service but i would think that it would certainly not be a priority nor should it be.

  30. Linda April 11, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    Hi there, how much is a Thermomix from Spain then as I am wondering if it is worthwhile flying out from the UK to get one?

  31. Mara April 11, 2013 at 5:14 am #

    Last I heard, €960

  32. RippedOffinOz May 15, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    Linda, they are about the same price in the uk. I wish they were the same here as I would like one, but I can’t justify the distributor making all that extra money. I think consultants make about the same all over the world, and when you look at shipping costs and tax differences it still doesn’t account for the extra $500 to $700 that thermomix Australia charges. It is clear that ALL of that extra profit is going to the greedy supplier. Not very fair on the consultants or the consumers. And it is very sad to hear all the stuff about discounted cookbooks and accessories- how much would these thing really cost to make?? They have also just announced ‘interest free’ plans but when you look into it you still have to pay another $150 or so just in account management fees( basically about 11% interest) . 5 words: great product, Aussies ripped off!

  33. Kylie June 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Hi, I’m in Europe at the moment from Australia and would like to buy a thermomix while I’m in Spain in July. Does any one know how I would do this without going through eBay (don’t know if I trust them?) I’ve tried contacting thermo Spain but only get replys in Spanish which I think say to contact the Australian store, not much use when I’m trying to save money.
    Anyway, do you know how to buy/pick up a thermo without a demo from Spain.
    Thanks

  34. Ingrid June 8, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    Thanks so much for these comments! I am in Spain, soon to return home to Australia and was just about to buy a thermomix online here (they’re as cheap as 440 euros new on ebay) but it seemed suspiciously cheap. Now I will get one from my Spanish sister in-law’s friend who is a consultant here and sells them for 920Euros (which will still save me $600AU). I note that I wont have an expert consultant on call at home, and that the manual will be in Spanish – which luckily I read, but I figure I can buy a heap of extra cookbooks for $600. That said, I am all for supporting local Australian consultants earning an honest living, but seeing as I come to Spain regularly to visit family I can always bring back machine if problems arise, or Skype the consultant here. In short, buy here if you’re coming anyway, but it’s not worth a trip over. And although it’s a year late, to answer Kylie, many boutique electrical appliance shops sell them direct as well, although the research I did shows they are a little more expensive than some consultants.

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