A year like no other
Altor has made a number of investments and partnerships with successful brands across the consumer sector. We sat down with our Consumer-sector team to hear their thoughts on 2022 and what they believe 2023 will bring.
We kick off by asking what 2022 has been like in general for the sector?
Andreas Källström-Säfweräng: 2022 has really been a year of turbulence for many consumer-oriented companies. But as lead of our Consumer sector, it’s such a privilege to work together with brands that have defied all difficulties and continued performing strongly. Imagine what they can do under better circumstances! Of course, some companies struggle, but we know that in times like these, we establish the basis from which to come out even stronger once the economy recovers.
Klaas van Henten: I agree, it has been a turbulent year with geopolitical tensions and high inflation, both directly impacting end-consumers. Agility and quick decision making have been key!
Caroline Ericsson: Can only echo Andreas and Klaas. The year of 2022 has been challenging in many ways but at the same time it creates an opportunity for the most efficient and well operating businesses. It is also more evident than ever, that you need to listen to your customers and empower the business with real consumer insights.
When listening to the team, it is evident that in a year of lemons, a number of companies Altor partners with – managed to make lemonade.
Klaas van Henten: Look at what Toteme has accomplished for instance: In a crowded space, They have found a unique angle and I am convinced it is a brand and fashion house that is here to stay.
And TOTEME receives several more votes when we ask for consumer companies in our portfolio that has impressed in 2022.
Cornelia Jebsen Anker: Toteme really has received true global recognition and presence following a super exciting, and still ongoing, growth journey.
Niklas Mattsson: They are doing a fantastic job building an internationally renowned fashion house and I can’t wait to see what happens in 2023. The appeal of their products is also painfully evident on my girlfriend’s Christmas wish list…
Cornelia Jebesen Anker: And I am very impressed by the team who is doing a fantastic job – it is truly inspiring!
Another company that gets several votes from the room is Audiowell.
Klaas van Henten: I am so excited about them, Audiowell is a young company in a young industry. As they grow and innovate, they directly shape and change their industry. Everything is new and unchartered, exciting!
Linnea Ekroth: Another important aspect is that they really enable talented musicians to live off their music and at the same time spread wellness through mood music!
Zacharias Wulf: I also think we should mention Grythyttan, they joined Network of Design in 2022. It is a great example how a multiple generation family-owned brand, with amazing design heritage, can find a long-term home in NOD to take the next step on its development journey.
Niklas Mattsson: Albeit not a traditional “consumer” company, the Svea Solar addition to the portfolio is truly exciting, especially in these times with an ever-growing demand for renewable energy and solutions to support a low carbon economy.
Andreas Källström-Säfweräng: And they have coped and delivered on an enormous demand for their solar panels, fueled by the crazy energy prices.
Nicolai Kjær Jacobsen: But we need to look outside the Nordics too, I am very excited about Oceansapart. There is a lot of talk about the power of a strong brand and needless to say they have created an inspiring athleisure brand with exciting product launches planned for 2023.
Henrik Klevar: I must add Rossignol to the list of companies that impressed in 2022. They have made a comeback after two Covid impacted years with record market share and activity level. Driven by a change in business model and the continuous commitment of the Rossignol team to maintain its product leadership even in uncertain times. In parallel, our Apparel division continues to deliver on a strong growth trajectory in all channels. Worth noting is how Rossignol delivered on a record manufacturing ambition while managing severe supply chain disruption.
But besides Altor’s brand portfolio, what other brands excites you?
Caroline Eriksson: I am very impressed and inspired by Djerf Avenue. It is a Swedish founder-led ready-to-wear brand. They represent a lot of what the modern and conscious customer is looking for today; inclusiveness, diversity, sustainability and authenticity.
Niklas Mattsson: Some of the early adopters of the Direct-to-Consumer business models have really reaped the benefits of their first-mover advantage. Some Swedish examples, like Soft Goat and Chimi Eyewear, scale globally at an impressive pace. There are also inspiring examples of smaller companies challenging traditional industries, like Klint Home that wants to improve how we buy interior paint or Saman Amel ‘bringing back’ craftmanship to menswear. Finally, I am excited to see how Instabee will continue to drive innovation in last-mile delivery, now as a joint company.
Now, with 2023 ahead of us – will it be a rough year for the consumer industry?
Klaas van Henten: Well, undoubtedly, it will be a difficult first six months, but companies that prove to be resilient right now will be set for great success in the near future.
Niklas Mattsson: Agree, the first 1-2 quarters unfortunately look a bit grim from a consumer confidence point of view, with inflation, rising electricity costs, and rising interest costs. However, I am also hopeful and expect we will see a lot of innovation around sustainability – especially in the FMCG space. Consumer confidence aside, the trends around continued focus on sustainability and digital business models continue to prevail.
Nicolai Kjær Jacobsen: True, but at the end of the day, at Altor we will need to do what we have always done: form new partnerships with inspiring founders of leading consumer brands. It has worked well in the past, and I think it is the right recipe for the future as well.
Even in a more difficult macroeconomic environment, I believe at Altor we will continue to be true to our DNA and won’t shy away from being contrarian at times.
Published: Dec 21 2022