Logitech CEO sees pandemic accelerating changes to homeworking

Credit: REUTERS/RICK WILKING

The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted business for Logitech International as people forced to shun their workplaces splash out on its computer keyboards, mice and webcams to kit out makeshift offices at home.

By John Revill

ZURICH, Oct 20 (Reuters) - The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted business for Logitech International LOGN.S as people forced to shun their workplaces splash out on its computer keyboards, mice and webcams to kit out makeshift offices at home.

The Swiss-U.S. computer peripherals company increased sales by 75% in its latest quarter and raised its profit guidance again, making it a bright spot in a global health crisis that has battered many other firms.

Chief Executive Bracken Darrell said on Tuesday long-term changes to homeworking and demand for video calls and esports had been accelerated by the pandemic, and would remain relevant after the COVID-19 crisis eases.

"There's seven billion people around the world, and they need places to work and they need ways to stay connected, and have fun and hobbies," he told Reuters in an interview.

"A lot of that is streaming and video. We have an almost unlimited potential for growth," added Darrell, who has been CEO since 2013.

At present, people are simply buying more of everything, Darrell said, pointing to big increases in Logitech sales of webcams, video collaboration systems and gaming accessories such as its racing wheel and pedals used with driving simulators.

In the future most companies will have a mixture of staff working at home and at the office, he said, with only a minority returning full time to the office or ditching the traditional workplace entirely.

"They are going to need work spaces and video enablement in both places," Darrell said.

People are also upgrading what equipment they have at home, after realising that working with just a phone, tablet computer or laptop from their bed or couch was uncomfortable in the long term, he added.

When not working, online computer games also help to connect people, Darrell said, especially when social distancing and lockdowns prevent them meeting with friends and family.

"In a pandemic it's helped people of all ages to stay connected to communities around the world," he said.

(Reporting by John Revill Editing by Gareth Jones)

((John.Revill@thomsonreuters.com; +41 58306 7022; Reuters Messaging: john.revill.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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