As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact economies across the globe, we caught up with some of the windsurfing brands to speak about their actual situation. Today we catch up with Alexander Hasch, Sales & Marketing Manager from Duotone to speak about the difficulties, the expected sales and how he will lead Duotone through the crisis.
Continentseven: How does the corona outbreak impact the windsurfing business?
Alexander Hasch: Well, it definitely influences all parts of our business. From closed dealer networks to slower and more expensive transport routes for all shipments from suppliers to us and from us to our customers.
What are the main difficulties for Duotone at the moment?
To compensate missing turnover which all brands will loose due to closed stores like e.g. in Italy and Spain. More countries will follow. Very hard to predict how the demand will develop after „everything“ is over and back to „normal“ in hopefully some weeks already. Of course cutting costs down will also be not the easiest.
Are the supply chains /distributions still working?
So far all chains are still working with little delays but some of our suppliers may also close their factories for a few days which will have an effect on production capacity.
The production facilities of our Chinese suppliers seem to work again with full power and motivation.
Normally April is photoshoot time in Maui?
Our main photo shoot was supposed to take place in Maui again but due to the travel ban we do not get any photographers, organisers and riders any more into the US.
That’s why we might do the shoot with a smaller group of riders which is already on the island and work with local options concerning photographers and video filmers. Or we just delay the shoot until the travel ban is over. Additional we maybe plan a little shooting in Europe to feature all other riders which cannot travel at the moment. We will see.
Do you see any damage already in your company and for the whole windsurfing industry?
For sure there will be some economical damage due lack of turnover during the shut down period in various countries. Hard to predict if and how much of this missing turnover can be recovered or gained back in the following months when the shut downs are over. We plan with around 15-30 % less turnover in 2020. For sure this will effect the whole windsurf industry. On a positive side the brands will maybe work closer together in the future and also help the dealers to survive this difficult period. E.g. giving dealers more time to sell off the current 2020 model year products.
Did you already consider to postpone the release of the 2021 equipment and change the product cycle? In the textile industry it’s already in discussion.
How will you make it through the crisis and are you working on reduced capacities already? Do you have any special strategies?
You need to calculate with less sales volume due to the crisis and all effects which come with it like closed windsurf stores, less motivation to spend money etc. This will of course also have an effect on our cost budget.
Will this crisis force a few companies in the windsurfing business to stop the production?
Yes we think so. Missing and later on maybe decreased demand will force the industry to also produce less to avoid too much stock and working capital for the brands and dealers.
Is the crisis a chance for necessary changes? Will it help windsurfing as the people realize how nice it is to have just a glide on the water? Will the people appreciate the lifestyle of freedom more, after a longer period of restrictions and perhaps home quarantine?
Everything is possible. In the end the lifestyle effect comes only into play if there is still enough cash in the wallets of our customers. If there starts a wave of bankruptcies then the lifestyle effect maybe plays a smaller role as basic needs will play the leading role then.
Thanks for your time and good luck for the upcoming months!