Dear customers, partners and friends,
Sennheiser turns 75 this year. We are looking at 2020 with very mixed feelings. Actually, we were looking forward to celebrating our anniversary with our employees and with you – our customers, partners and friends. But then the COVID-19 pandemic confronted us with a whole set of challenges – both in the private and in the professional environment – which we could not have even imagined at the beginning of the year.
From the middle of March, we took a number of significant steps worldwide to protect the health and safety of our employees and customers including closing all our stores, introducing remote working wherever possible, and dividing production into groups. At the same time, public life practically came to a standstill – what had begun in Asia continued in Europe and the USA.
The effects of the pandemic hit us and our customers hard, especially the events and music industry. Until today, almost all concerts and live events have been canceled due to event regulations. The existence of many rental companies and other service providers is under threat, as well as the careers of many musicians and engineers. We currently expect the industry to recover slowly, especially as do not know yet when big live events will be possible again. Accordingly, the sales of microphones will be affected massively until next year.
We also feel the effects of the COVID-19 crisis in the consumer electronics field. Headphone sales have declined across the entire market in recent months, Sennheiser included. One reason for this is that in many countries it was simply no longer possible to shop in stores, another is the cautious purchase behavior of consumers – in a market where the competitive pressure is already immense. All this is clearly reflected in our turnover. Like many other companies, we took measures early on to mitigate the negative impact on our business, but especially on our employees, as much as possible. Nevertheless, the situation remains challenging.
Through our 75-year history and three generations as a family business, we have overcome difficult circumstances on many occasions. To manage these issues successfully and to emerge stronger, we had to take on new perspectives, align with new realities and transform the company. This is another such moment. We must react to the changing conditions and position Sennheiser for a successful future. We will continue to focus on our core competencies and further strengthen both our consumer and professional divisions. To do so, we will increase the independence of the divisions and transfer operational responsibilities completely to these two business areas.
But this also requires difficult and painful decisions. The most difficult decisions are always the ones that involve our employees – the Sennheiser team behind our products and audio experiences.
Over the next two years, we will need to reduce the size of our workforce across the company – especially in central functions such as Supply Chain and Operations. Accepting this reality has been particularly hard for us as it affects people who do excellent work every day, colleagues who bring their knowledge and expertise and make an extraordinary contribution to Sennheiser and our customers. They all are music fans, audio enthusiasts, technophiles and above all great team players. We deeply regret that we have to make such tough decisions and have to part with them now. We wish to offer our most sincere thanks to every single one of our colleagues because without our employees, Sennheiser would not have become what it is today: one of the leading audio companies in the world.
We are in a time of change and new challenges in which we must adapt. But it is also a time of new opportunities, a time of new ideas for the future. And we are confident in this future. We believe we will emerge from this crisis even stronger, as Sennheiser has done many times over the last 75 years.
Sennheiser has stood for excellence in the field of audio since its foundation. And we will continue to do so. We want to offer innovative solutions that enable our customers to express their creativity in the best possible way and allow them to create or enjoy unique listening experiences. We at Sennheiser will continue to develop new solutions together with our customers: Sennheiser remains ‘The Future of Audio’.
Andreas and Daniel Sennheiser