ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
The risk factors summarized and disclosed below could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition, and may cause volatility in the price of our shares. These are not all the risks we face and other factors not presently known to us or that we currently believe are immaterial may also affect our business if they occur. See also the other information set forth in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, including in Part I Item 2 Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and our Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements and the related Notes.
Summary of Risk Factors
Risks Related to our Business
•If we fail to innovate and develop new products in a timely and cost-effective manner for our new and existing product categories, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
•Our future growth will depend on our diversified product growth opportunities, and if we do not successfully execute on our growth opportunities, or if our growth opportunities are more limited than we expect, our operating results could be adversely affected.
•We purchase key components and products from a limited number of sources, and our business and operating results could be adversely affected if supply were delayed or constrained or if there were shortages of required components.
•Our principal manufacturing operations and third-party contract manufacturers are located in China and Southeast Asia, which exposes us to risks associated with doing business in that geographic area as well as potential tariffs, adverse trade regulations, adverse tax consequences and pressure to move or diversify our manufacturing locations.
•If we do not successfully coordinate the worldwide manufacturing and distribution of our products, we could lose sales.
•If we are not able to maintain and enhance our brands, or if our brands or reputation are damaged, our reputation, business and operating results could be adversely affected.
•If we do not compete effectively, demand for our products could decline and our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
•The full effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is still uncertain and cannot be predicted, and could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
•We rely on third parties to sell and distribute our products, and we rely on their information to manage our business. Disruption of our relationship with these channel partners, changes in or issues with their business practices, their failure to provide timely and accurate information, changes in distribution partners, practices or models, conflicts among our channels of distribution, or failure to build and scale our own sales force for certain product categories and enterprise channel partners could adversely affect our business, results of operations, operating cash flows and financial condition.
•If we do not accurately forecast market demand for our products, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
•Our business depends in part on access to third-party platforms or technologies, and if the access is withdrawn, denied, or is not available on terms acceptable to us, or if the platforms or technologies change without notice to us, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
•Our success largely depends on our ability to hire, retain, integrate and motivate sufficient numbers of qualified personnel, including senior management. Our strategy and our ability to innovate, design and produce new products, sell products, maintain operating margins and control expenses depend on key personnel that may be difficult to replace.
•As we focus on growth opportunities, we are divesting or discontinuing non-strategic product categories and pursuing strategic acquisitions and investments, which could have an adverse impact on our business.
•Product quality issues could adversely affect our reputation, business and operating results.
Risks Related to Global Nature of our Operations and Regulatory Environment
•Adverse global and regional economic and geopolitical conditions can materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
•We conduct operations in a number of countries and have invested significantly in growing our sales and marketing activities in China, and the effect of business, legal and political risks associated with international operations could adversely affect us.
•Changes in trade policy and regulations in the United States and other countries, including changes in trade agreements and the imposition of tariffs and the resulting consequences, may have adverse impacts on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
•Our financial performance is subject to risks associated with fluctuations in currency exchange rates and interest rates.
•We are subject to risks related to our environmental, social and governance activities and disclosures.
•As a company operating in many markets and jurisdictions, expanding into new growth categories, and engaging in acquisitions, and as a Swiss, dual-listed company, we are subject to risks associated with new, existing and potential future laws and regulations.
•As a result of changes in tax laws, treaties, rulings, regulations or agreements, or their interpretation, of Switzerland or any other country in which we operate, the loss of a major tax dispute or a successful challenge to our operating structure, intercompany pricing policies or the taxable presence of our key subsidiaries in certain countries, or other factors, our effective income tax rates may increase, which could adversely affect our net income and cash flows.
Risks Related to Cyber Security, Privacy, and Intellectual Property
•Significant disruptions in, or breaches in security of, our websites or information technology systems could adversely affect our business.
•The collection, storage, transmission, use and distribution of user data could give rise to liabilities and additional costs of operation as a result of laws, governmental regulation and risks of data breaches and security incidents.
•Claims by others that we infringe their proprietary technology could adversely affect our business.
•We may be unable to protect our proprietary rights. Unauthorized use of our technology may result in the development of products that compete with our products.
Risks Related to our Financial Results
•Our operating results are difficult to predict and fluctuations in results may cause volatility in the price of our shares
•Our gross margins can vary significantly depending on multiple factors, which can result in unanticipated fluctuations in our operating results.
•We cannot ensure that our current share repurchase program will be fully utilized or that it will enhance long-term shareholder value. Share repurchases may also increase the volatility of the trading price of our shares. We similarly cannot ensure that we will continue to increase our dividend payments or to pay dividends at all. Share repurchases and dividends diminish our cash reserves.
Risks Related to our Business
If we fail to innovate and develop new products in a timely and cost-effective manner for our new and existing product categories, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
Our product categories are characterized by short product life cycles, intense competition, frequent new product introductions, rapidly changing technology, dynamic consumer demand and evolving industry standards. As a result, we must continually innovate in our new and existing product categories, introduce new products and technologies, and enhance existing products in order to remain competitive.
The success of our product portfolio depends on several factors, including our ability to:
•Identify new features, functionality and opportunities;
•Anticipate technology, market trends and consumer preferences;
•Develop innovative, high-quality, and reliable new products and enhancements in a cost-effective and timely manner;
•Distinguish our products from those of our competitors; and
•Offer our products at prices and on terms that are attractive to our customers and consumers.
If we do not execute on these factors successfully, products that we introduce or technologies or standards that we adopt may not gain widespread commercial acceptance, and our business and operating results could suffer. In addition, if we do not continue to differentiate our products through distinctive, technologically advanced features, designs, and services that are appealing to our customers and consumers, as well as continue to build and strengthen our brand recognition and our access to distribution channels, our business could be adversely affected.
The development of new products and services can be very difficult and requires high levels of innovation. The development process also can be lengthy and costly. There are significant initial expenditures for research and development, tooling, manufacturing processes, inventory and marketing, and we may not be able to recover those investments. If we fail to accurately anticipate technological trends or our users’ needs or preferences, are unable to complete the development of products and services in a cost-effective and timely fashion or are unable to appropriately increase production to fulfill customer demand, we will be unable to successfully introduce new products and services into the market or compete with other providers. Even if we complete the development of our new products and services in a cost-effective and timely manner, they may not be competitive with products developed by others, they may not achieve acceptance in the market at anticipated levels or at all, they may not be
profitable or, even if they are profitable, they may not achieve margins as high as our expectations or as high as the margins we have achieved historically.
As we introduce new or enhanced products, integrate new technology into new or existing products, or reduce the overall number of products offered, we face risks including, among other things, disruption in customers’ ordering patterns, excessive levels of new and existing product inventories, revenue deterioration in our existing product lines, insufficient supplies of new products to meet customers’ demand, possible product and technology defects, and a potentially different sales and support environment. Premature announcements or leaks of new products, features or technologies may exacerbate some of these risks by reducing the effectiveness of our product launches, reducing sales volumes of current products due to anticipated future products, making it more difficult to compete, shortening the period of differentiation based on our product innovation, straining relationships with our partners or increasing market expectations for the results of our new products before we have had an opportunity to demonstrate the market viability of the products. Our failure to manage the transition to new products and services or the integration of new technology into new or existing products and services could adversely affect our business, results of operations, operating cash flows and financial condition.
Our future growth will depend on our diversified product growth opportunities, and if we do not successfully execute on our growth opportunities, or if our growth opportunities are more limited than we expect, our operating results could be adversely affected.
We have historically targeted peripherals for the PC platform and in recent years, have expanded the categories of products we sell and entered new markets.
Our sales of our products might be less than we expect due to a decline in business or economic conditions in one or more of the countries or regions, a greater decline than we expect in demand for our products, our inability to successfully execute our sales and marketing plans, or for other reasons. Global economic concerns, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the varying pace of global economic recovery, tariffs and policies that inhibit trade, the impact of sovereign debt issues in Europe, the impact of oil prices from Russia and other countries, conflicts with either local or global financial implications and economic slowdown in China, create unpredictability and add risk to our future outlook. In particular, there are a number of factors worldwide contributing to supply chain challenges, which are due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic disruption, rising prices, labor and material shortages, and most recently Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
As a result, we are attempting to diversify our product category portfolio. We also are focusing more of our attention, which may include personnel, financial resources and management attention, on product innovations and growth opportunities, including products and services for gaming, for video collaboration, for the consumption of digital music, and on other potential growth opportunities in addition to our PC peripherals product categories. Our investments may not result in the growth we expect, or when we expect it, for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to, changes in growth trends, evolving and changing market and increasing competition, market opportunities, and product innovation.
Trends and opportunities in each of our product categories are rapidly evolving, declining in some categories and increasing in others, and may also be different by region, as a result of which we are constantly required to adapt to such changing markets, increased competition, and new challenges and opportunities. If we don’t allocate our resources in line with the market and new opportunities, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.
In addition to our current growth opportunities, our future growth may be reliant on our ability to identify and develop potential new growth opportunities. This process is inherently risky and will result in investments in time and resources for which we do not achieve any return or value.
Our growth opportunities and those we may pursue are subject to constant and rapidly changing and evolving technologies and evolving industry standards and may be replaced by new technology concepts or platforms. Some of these growth categories and opportunities are also characterized by short product cycles, frequent new product introductions and enhancements and rapidly changing and evolving consumer preferences with respect to design and features that require calculated risk-taking and fast responsiveness and result in short opportunities to establish a market presence. In addition, some of these growth categories and opportunities are characterized by price competition, erosion of premium-priced segments and average selling prices, commoditization, and sensitivity to
general economic conditions and cyclical downturns. The growth opportunities and strength and number of competitors that we face in all of our product categories mean that we are at risk of new competitors coming to market with more innovative products that are more attractive to customers than ours or priced more competitively. If we do not develop innovative and reliable product offerings and enhancements in a cost-effective and timely manner that are attractive to consumers in these markets, if we are otherwise unsuccessful entering and competing in these growth categories or responding to our many competitors and to the rapidly changing conditions in these growth categories, if the growth categories in which we invest our limited resources do not emerge as the opportunities or do not produce the growth or profitability we expect, or when we expect it, or if we do not correctly anticipate changes and evolutions in technology and platforms, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.
We purchase key components and products from a limited number of sources, and our business and operating results could be adversely affected if supply were delayed or constrained or if there were shortages of required components.
We purchase certain products and key components from a limited number of sources. If the supply of these products or key components were to be delayed or constrained, impacted by global shortages of semiconductor chips, or if one or more of our single-source suppliers experience disruptions or go out of business as a result of adverse global economic conditions, natural disasters or regional or global pandemics, including COVID-19, we might be unable to find a new supplier on acceptable terms, or at all, and our product shipments to our customers could be delayed, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results. In particular, there are a number of factors worldwide contributing to supply chain challenges, which are due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic disruption, rising prices, labor and material shortages, and most recently Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Lead times for materials, components and products ordered by us or by our contract manufacturers can vary significantly and depend on factors such as contract terms, demand for a component, and supplier capacity. From time to time, we have experienced component shortages and extended lead times on semiconductors, such as microcontrollers and optical sensors, and base metals used in our products. Shortages or interruptions in the supply of components or subcontracted products, or our inability to procure these components or products from alternate sources at acceptable prices in a timely manner, could delay shipment of our products or increase our production costs, which could adversely affect our business and operating results.
Our principal manufacturing operations and third-party contract manufacturers are located in China and Southeast Asia, which exposes us to risks associated with doing business in that geographic area as well as potential tariffs, adverse tax consequences and pressure to move or diversify our manufacturing locations.
We produce approximately half of our products at the facilities we own in China. The majority of our other production is performed by third-party contract manufacturers, including original design manufacturers, in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
Our manufacturing operations in China could be adversely affected by changes in the interpretation and enforcement of legal standards, strains on China’s available labor pool, changes in labor costs and other employment dynamics, high turnover among Chinese employees, infrastructure issues, import-export issues, cross-border intellectual property and technology restrictions, currency transfer restrictions, natural disasters, regional or global pandemics, conflicts or disagreements between China and Taiwan or China and the United States, labor unrest, and other trade customs and practices that are dissimilar to those in the United States and Europe. Interpretation and enforcement of China’s laws and regulations continue to evolve, and we expect differences in interpretation and enforcement to continue in the foreseeable future.
Our manufacturing operations at third-party contractors could be adversely affected by contractual disagreements, by labor unrest, by natural disasters, by regional or global pandemics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, by wars and armed conflicts, by strains on local communications, trade, and other infrastructures, by competition for the available labor pool or manufacturing capacity, by increasing labor and other costs, and by other trade customs and practices that are dissimilar to those in the United States and Europe.
Further, we have been exposed in the past and may be exposed to fluctuations in the value of the local currency in the countries in which manufacturing occurs. Future appreciation of these local currencies could increase our
component and other raw material costs. In addition, our labor costs could continue to rise as wage rates increase and the available labor pool declines. These conditions could adversely affect our financial results.
If we do not successfully coordinate the worldwide manufacturing and distribution of our products, we could lose sales.
Our business requires us to coordinate the manufacture and distribution of our products over much of the world. We rely on third parties to manufacture many of our products, manage centralized distribution centers, and transport our products. If we do not successfully coordinate the timely manufacturing and distribution of our products, if our manufacturers, distribution logistics providers or transport providers are not able to successfully and timely process our business or if we do not receive timely and accurate information from such providers, and especially if we expand into new product categories or our business grows in volume, we may have an insufficient supply of products to meet customer demand, we could lose sales, we may experience a build-up in inventory, we may incur additional costs, and our financial performance and reporting may be adversely affected.
By locating our manufacturing in China and Southeast Asia, we are reliant on third parties to get our products to distributors around the world. Transportation costs, fuel costs, labor unrest, natural disasters, regional or global pandemics, military conflicts, and other adverse effects on our ability, timing and cost of delivering products can increase our inventory, decrease our margins, adversely affect our relationships with distributors and other customers and otherwise adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
A significant portion of our quarterly retail orders and product deliveries generally occur in the last weeks of the fiscal quarter. This places pressure on our supply chain and could adversely affect our revenues and profitability if we are unable to successfully fulfill customer orders.
If we are not able to maintain and enhance our brands, or if our brands or reputation are damaged, our reputation, business and operating results could be adversely affected.
We have developed long-term value in our brands and have invested significantly in design and in our existing and new brands over the past several years. We believe that our design and brands have significantly contributed to the success of our business and that maintaining and enhancing our brands is very important to our future growth and success. Maintaining and enhancing our brands will require significant investments and will depend largely on our future design, products and marketing, which may not be successful and may damage our brands. Our brands and reputation are also dependent on third parties, such as suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, product reviewers and the media as well as online consumer product reviews, consumer recommendations and referrals. It can take significant time, resources and expense to overcome negative publicity, reviews or perception. Any negative effect on our brands, regardless of whether it is in our control, could adversely affect our reputation, business and results of operations.
If we do not compete effectively, demand for our products could decline and our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
The industry in which we operate is intensely competitive. Most of our product categories are characterized by large, well-financed competitors with strong brand names and highly effective research and development, marketing and sales capabilities, short product life cycles, continual performance enhancements, and rapid adoption of technological and product advancements by competitors in our product markets. Many of our competitors have broad product portfolios across several of our product categories and are able to use the strength of their brands to move into adjacent categories. Our competitors have the ability to bring new products to market quickly and at competitive prices. We experience aggressive price competition and other promotional activities from our primary competitors and from less-established brands, including brands owned by retail customers known as house brands. As we shift the focus of our marketing efforts in certain categories from a push model to a demand-generating pull model, the pressures from this competition and from our distribution channels, combined with the implementation risks of such a strategy shift, could adversely affect our competitive position, market share and business. In addition, our competitors may offer customers terms and conditions that may be more favorable than our terms and conditions and may require us to take actions to maintain or increase our customer incentive programs, which could impact our revenues and operating margins.
We have historically expanded the categories of products we sell and entered new markets. We remain alert to opportunities in new categories and markets. As we do so, we are confronting new competitors, many of which have
more experience in the categories or markets and have greater marketing resources and brand name recognition than we have. In addition, because of the continuing convergence of the markets for computing devices and consumer electronics, we expect greater competition in the future from well-established consumer electronics companies in our developing categories as well as in future categories we might enter. Many of these companies, such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Cisco, Sony, Samsung, Amazon and others, have greater financial, technical, sales, marketing and other resources than we have.
Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon are leading producers of operating systems, hardware, platforms and applications with which our mice, keyboards, wireless speakers and other products are designed to operate. In addition, Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon each has significantly greater financial, technical, sales, marketing and other resources than Logitech, as well as greater name recognition and a larger customer base. As a result, Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon each may be able to improve the functionality of its products, if any, or may choose to show preference to our competitors' products, to correspond with ongoing enhancements to its operating systems, hardware and software applications before we are able to make such improvements. This ability could provide Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon or other competitors with significant lead-time advantages. In addition, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon or other competitors may be able to control distribution channels or offer pricing advantages on bundled hardware and software products that we may not be able to offer, and maybe financially positioned to exert significant downward pressure on product prices and upward pressure on promotional incentives in order to gain market share. For additional information, see "Competition” in Item 1 of the Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") on May 18, 2022.
The full effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is still uncertain and cannot be predicted, and could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
COVID-19 has spread rapidly throughout the world, causing volatility and disruption in financial markets, curtailing global economic activity, raising the prospect of an extended global recession, and prompting governments and businesses to take unprecedented measures in response. Such measures have included restrictions on travel and business operations, quarantines and shelter-at-home orders, and often resulted in indefinite business closures. The full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be predicted as a result of uncertainties, including if and how the extent and rate of the spread continue to fluctuate in different parts of the world, the gravity and transmissibility level of the current and future variants, the availability and effectiveness of treatments and vaccines, and vaccination progress. The impact of different variants cannot be predicted at this time, and could depend on numerous factors, including the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against such variants and the response by governmental bodies and regulators.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken by many countries in response have contributed to a general slowdown in the global economy and had a mixed effect and could in the future have a mixed or adverse effect on our business and operations, our customers and our partners. We have experienced and may continue to experience disruptions and higher costs in our manufacturing, supply chain and logistics operations and outsourced services, resulting in shortages of our products in our distribution channels and loss of market share and opportunities. We have also incurred additional costs related to business continuity. Most recently, Shanghai, China, began a two-month lockdown beginning in late March 2022 due to another outbreak of COVID-19, resulting in a lockdown of the city, closures of ports and airports, and disruption of commercial activities. If additional lockdowns or similar measures are instituted in Shanghai, or Suzhou, where our manufacturing facility is located, or other places where our suppliers and partners are located, such measures, depending on their duration, could cause additional negative impact on our business and results of operations.
While we believe that the pandemic accelerated certain trends favorable to us, its effects on the use patterns and demand for our products has been evolving. The COVID-19 pandemic also may have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described under this heading “Risk Factors.” We continue to monitor the situation and attempt to take appropriate actions in accordance with the recommendations and requirements of relevant authorities. The full extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and on our operational and financial performance and condition is still uncertain and will depend on many factors outside our control, including but not limited to the timing, extent, duration and effects of the virus and any of its mutations and variants, the further development and availability of effective treatments and vaccines and the vaccination progress, the imposition of effective public safety and other protective measures, the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy and demand for our products and services, and the impact of the virus on the business, operations and financial condition of our partners and customers. Should the COVID-19 situation or global economic slowdown not improve or worsen, or if our attempts to mitigate its impact on our operations and costs are not successful, our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects may be adversely affected.
We rely on third parties to sell and distribute our products, and we rely on their information to manage our business. Disruption of our relationship with these channel partners, changes in or issues with their business practices, their failure to provide timely and accurate information, changes in distribution partners, practices or models, conflicts among our channels of distribution, or failure to build and scale our own sales force for certain product categories and enterprise channel partners could adversely affect our business, results of operations, operating cash flows and financial condition.
We primarily sell our products to a network of distributors, retailers, e-tailers and enterprise customers (together with our direct sales channel partners). We are dependent on those direct sales channel partners to distribute and sell our products to indirect sales channel partners and ultimately to consumers. The sales and business practices of all such sales channel partners, their compliance with laws and regulations, and their reputations - of which we may or may not be aware - may affect our business and our reputation.
While our overall distribution relationships are diffuse, in fiscal year 2022 our gross sales were concentrated with three customers - Amazon Inc., Ingram Micro and TD Synnex - and their affiliated entities. We do not have long-term commitments with those customers. If online sales grow as a percentage of overall sales, we expect that we will become even more reliant on Amazon. While we believe that we have good relationships with Amazon, Ingram Micro and TD Synnex, any adverse change in those relationships could have an adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition.
The impact of economic conditions, labor issues, natural disasters, regional or global pandemics, evolving consumer preferences, and purchasing patterns on our distribution partners, or competition between our sales channels, could result in sales channel disruption. For example, if sales at large retail stores are displaced as a result of bankruptcy, competition from Internet sales channels or otherwise, our product sales could be adversely affected and our product mix could change, which could adversely affect our operating costs and gross margins. Any loss of a major partner or distribution channel or other channel disruption could make us more dependent on alternate channels, increase pricing and promotional pressures from other partners and distribution channels, increase our marketing costs, or adversely impact buying and inventory patterns, payment terms or other contractual terms, sell-through or delivery of our products to consumers, our reputation and brand equity, or our market share.
Our sales channel partners also sell products offered by our competitors and, in the case of retailer house brands, may also be our competitors. If product competitors offer our sales channel partners more favorable terms, have more products available to meet their needs, or utilize the leverage of broader product lines sold through the channel, or if our sales channel partners show preference for their own house brands, our sales channel partners may de-emphasize or decline to carry our products. In addition, certain of our sales channel partners could decide to de-emphasize the product categories that we offer in exchange for other product categories that they believe provide them with higher returns. If we are unable to maintain successful relationships with these sales channel partners or to maintain our distribution channels, our business will suffer.
As we expand into new product categories and markets in pursuit of growth, we will have to build relationships with new channel partners and adapt to new distribution and marketing models. These new partners, practices and models may require significant management attention and operational resources and may affect our accounting, including revenue recognition, gross margins, and the ability to make comparisons from period to period. Entrenched and more experienced competitors will make these transitions difficult. Certain product categories, such as Video Collaboration, may also require that we further build and scale our own enterprise sales force. Several of our competitors already have large enterprise sales forces and experience and success with that sales model. If we are unable to build successful distribution channels, build and scale our own enterprise sales force, or successfully market our products in these new product categories, we may not be able to take advantage of the growth opportunities, and our business and our ability to grow our business could be adversely affected.
We reserve for cooperative marketing arrangements, incentive programs and pricing programs with our sales channel partners. These reserves are based on judgments and estimates, using historical experience rates, inventory levels in distribution, current trends and other factors. There could be significant differences between the actual costs of such arrangements and programs and our estimates.
We use sell-through data, which represents sales of our products by our direct retailer and e-tailer customers to consumers, and by our distributor customers to their customers, along with other metrics, to assess consumer demand for our products. Sell-through data is subject to limitations due to collection methods and the third-party
nature of the data and thus may not be an accurate indicator of actual consumer demand for our products. The customers supplying sell-through data vary by geographic region and from period to period, but typically represent a majority of our retail sales. In addition, we rely on channel inventory data from our sales channel partners. If we do not receive this information on a timely and accurate basis, if this information is not accurate, or if we do not properly interpret this information, our results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected.
If we do not accurately forecast market demand for our products, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
We use our forecasts of product demand to make decisions regarding investments of our resources and production levels of our products. Although we receive forecasts from our customers, many are not obligated to purchase the forecasted demand. Also, actual sales volumes for individual products in our retail distribution channel can be volatile due to changes in consumer preferences and other reasons. In addition, our products have short product life cycles, so a failure to accurately predict high demand for a product can result in lost sales that we may not recover in subsequent periods, or higher product costs if we meet demand by paying higher costs for materials, production and delivery. We could also frustrate our customers and lose shelf space and market share. Our failure to predict low demand for a product can result in excess inventory, lower cash flows and lower margins if we are required to reduce product prices in order to reduce inventories.
If our sales channel partners have excess inventory of our products or decide to decrease their inventories for any reason, they may decrease the number of products they acquire in subsequent periods, which could cause disruption in our business and adversely affect our forecasts and sales.
Over the past few years, we have expanded the types of products we sell and the geographic markets in which we sell them. The changes in our product portfolio and the expansion of our sales markets have increased the difficulty of accurately forecasting product demand. We are also utilizing sea shipments more extensively than air delivery, which will cause us to build and ship products to our distribution centers earlier and will also result in increases in inventory. These operational shifts increase the risk that we have excess or obsolete inventory if we do not accurately forecast product demand.
In addition, market demand remains less predictable and more volatile than pre-COVID-19. As a result, we have experienced in the past and may continue experiencing large differences between our forecasts and actual demand for our products that may result in excess inventory or product unavailability, inventory and restructuring reserves, increases in operational logistics and other costs, damaged relationships with suppliers or customers, opportunities for our competitors, and lost market share and revenue. If we do not accurately predict product demand, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
Our business depends in part on access to third-party platforms or technologies, and if the access is withdrawn, denied, or is not available on terms acceptable to us, or if the platforms or technologies change without notice to us, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
Our peripherals business has historically been built largely around the PC platform, which over time became relatively open, and its inputs and operating system standardized. With the growth of mobile, tablet, gaming and other computer devices, digital music and personal voice assistants, the number of platforms has grown, and with it the complexity and increased need for us to have business and contractual relationships with the platform owners in order to produce products compatible with these platforms. Our product portfolio includes current and future products designed for use with third-party platforms or software, such as the Apple iPad, iPod, iPhone and Siri, Android phones and tablets, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Our business in these categories relies on our access to the platforms of third parties, some of whom are our competitors. Platform owners that are competitors have a competitive advantage in designing products for their platforms and may produce peripherals or other products that work better, or are perceived to work better, than our products in connection with those platforms. As we expand the number of platforms and software applications with which our products are compatible, we may not be successful in launching products for those platforms or software applications, we may not be successful in establishing strong relationships with the new platform or software owners, or we may negatively impact our ability to develop and produce high-quality products on a timely basis for those platforms and software applications or we may otherwise adversely affect our relationships with existing platform or software owners.
Our access to third-party platforms may require paying a royalty, which lowers our product margins or may otherwise be on terms that are not acceptable to us. In addition, the third-party platforms or technologies used to
interact with our product portfolio can be delayed in production or can change without prior notice to us, which can result in our having excess inventory, lower margins, lost investment in time and expense, or lost opportunity cost.
If we are unable to access third-party platforms or technologies, or if our access is withdrawn, denied, or is not available on terms acceptable to us, or if the platforms or technologies are delayed or changed without notice to us, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
Our success largely depends on our ability to hire, retain, integrate and motivate sufficient numbers of qualified personnel, including senior leadership. Our strategy and our ability to innovate, design and produce new products, sell products, maintain operating margins and control expenses depend on key personnel that may be difficult to replace.
Our success depends on our ability to attract and retain highly skilled personnel, including senior leadership and international personnel. From time to time, we experience turnover in some of our senior leadership positions.
We compensate our employees through a combination of salary, bonuses, benefits and equity compensation. Recruiting and retaining skilled personnel, including software and hardware engineers, is highly competitive. The pandemic and hybrid work environment have driven acute competition for talent, increased employee burnout and attrition across multiple industries. If we fail to provide an attractive working environment and competitive compensation to our employees, it will be difficult to retain, hire and integrate qualified employees and contractors, and we may not be able to maintain and expand our business. If we do not retain or maintain the continuity of our senior leaders or other key employees for any reason, including voluntary or involuntary departure, death or permanent or temporary disability, we risk losing institutional knowledge, experience, expertise and other benefits of continuity as well as the ability to attract and retain other key employees. In addition, we must carefully balance the size of our employee base with our current infrastructure, management resources and anticipated operating cash flows. If we are unable to manage the size of our employee base, particularly engineers, product managers and designers, we may fail to develop and introduce new products successfully and in a cost-effective and timely manner. If our revenue growth or employee levels vary significantly, our operating cash flows and financial condition could be adversely affected. Volatility or lack of positive performance in our stock price may also affect our ability to retain key employees, many of whom have been granted equity incentives. Logitech’s practice has been to provide equity incentives to its employees, but the number of shares available for equity grants is limited. We may find it difficult to provide competitive equity incentives, and our ability to hire, retain and motivate key personnel may suffer.
As we focus on growth opportunities, we are divesting or discontinuing non-strategic product categories and pursuing strategic acquisitions and investments, which could have an adverse impact on our business.
We continue to review our product portfolio and update our non-strategic product categories and products. During the third quarter of fiscal year 2022, we ceased future product launches under the Jaybird brand within our Audio & Wearables product category and during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, we discontinued our Harmony line of home entertainment controllers within our Smart Home product category. If we are unable to effect sales on favorable terms or if realignment is more costly or distracting than we expect or has a negative effect on our organization, employees and retention, then our business and operating results may be adversely affected. Discontinuing products with service components may also cause us to continue to incur expenses to maintain services within the product life cycle or may adversely affect our customer and consumer relationships and brand. Divestitures may also involve warranties, indemnification or covenants that could restrict our business or result in litigation, additional expenses or liabilities. In addition, discontinuing product categories, even categories that we consider non-strategic, reduces the size and diversification of our business and causes us to be more dependent on a smaller number of product categories.
As we attempt to grow our business in strategic product categories and emerging market geographies, we will consider growth through acquisition or investment. We will evaluate acquisition opportunities that could provide us with additional product or service offerings or with additional industry expertise, assets and capabilities. For example, we acquired ASTRO Gaming to expand into the console gaming market, we acquired Saitek to expand into the gaming simulation and controller markets, we acquired Blue Microphones to expand into the microphones market, we acquired General Workings, Inc. ("Streamlabs") to expand our software and service capabilities and tools for the streaming market, and we acquired Mevo Inc. to expand our camera hardware and software for live streaming and video conferencing. Acquisitions could result in difficulties integrating acquired operations, products, technology, internal controls, personnel and management teams and result in the diversion of capital and management’s attention away from other business issues and opportunities. If we fail to successfully integrate acquisitions, our business could be harmed. Acquisitions could also result in the assumption of known and unknown
liabilities, product, regulatory and other compliance issues, dilutive issuances of our equity securities, the incurrence of debt, disputes over earn-outs or other litigation, and adverse effects on relationships with our and our target’s employees, customers and suppliers. Moreover, our acquisitions may not be successful in achieving our desired strategy, product, financial or other objectives or expectations, which would also cause our business to suffer.
Acquisitions can also lead to large non-cash charges that can have an adverse effect on our results of operations as a result of write-offs for items such as future impairments of intangible assets and goodwill or the recording of share-based compensation.
If we divest or discontinue product categories or products that we previously acquired, or if the value of those parts of our business become impaired, we may need to evaluate the carrying value of our goodwill. Additional impairment charges could adversely affect our results of operations. Several of our past acquisitions have not been successful and have led to significant impairment charges. Acquisitions and divestitures may also cause our operating results to fluctuate and make it difficult for investors to compare operating results and financial statements between periods. In addition, from time to time we make strategic venture investments in other companies that provide products and services that are complementary to ours. If these investments are unsuccessful, this could have an adverse impact on our results of operations, operating cash flows and financial condition.
Product quality issues could adversely affect our reputation, business and operating results.
The market for our products is characterized by rapidly changing technology and evolving industry standards. To remain competitive, we must continually introduce new products and technologies. The products that we sell could contain defects in design or manufacture. Defects could also occur in the products or components that are supplied to us. There can be no assurance we will be able to detect and remedy all defects in the hardware and software we sell. Failure to do so could result in product recalls, product liability claims and litigation, product redesign efforts, lost revenue, loss of reputation, and significant warranty and other expenses to remedy.
While we maintain reserves for reasonably estimable liabilities and purchase liability insurance, our reserves may not be adequate to cover such claims and liabilities and our insurance is subject to deductibles and may not be adequate to cover such claims and liabilities. Furthermore, our contracts with distributors and retailers may contain warranty, indemnification and other provisions related to product quality issues, and claims under those provisions may adversely affect our business and operating results.
Risks Related to our Global Operations and Regulatory Environment
Adverse global and regional economic and geopolitical conditions can materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We conduct operations internationally with sales in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions. Our manufacturing operations and third-party contract manufacturers are located in China and Southeast Asia and we also purchase certain products and key components from a limited number of sources, and depend on the supply chain, including freight, to receive components, transport finished goods and deliver our products across the world. As a result, adverse global and regional economic and geopolitical conditions can materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Such conditions, including but not limited to inflation, slower growth or recession, new or increased tariffs, trade restrictions, changes to fiscal and monetary policy, higher interest rates and currency fluctuations, and other conditions that are susceptible to impact consumer confidence and spending could adversely affect demand for our products. During the first quarter of fiscal year 2023, we were impacted by adverse macroeconomic conditions including but not limited to inflation, foreign currency fluctuations, and lower consumer spending. We also continue being affected by supply chain challenges, and the war in Ukraine has further increased existing global supply chain, logistics, and inflationary challenges. In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2022, we indefinitely ceased all sales and shipments to Russia. Our sales in Ukraine have also been halted due to the ongoing military operations on the Ukrainian territory. Our business in Russia and Ukraine was not material to our results and accounted for approximately 2% of total revenue for fiscal year 2022.
Global or regional economic and political conditions also have an impact on our suppliers, contract manufacturers, logistics providers, and distributors, causing increases in cost of materials and higher shipping and transportation rates, and as a result impacting the pricing of our products. Price increases may not successfully offset cost increases or may cause us to lose market share and in turn adversely impact our operations.
All these and other global and regional economic and geopolitical factors can materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We conduct operations in a number of countries and have invested significantly in growing our sales and marketing activities in China, and the effect of business, legal and political risks associated with international operations could adversely affect us.
We conduct operations in a number of countries and have invested significantly in growing our personnel and sales and marketing activities in China and, to a lesser extent, other emerging markets. We may also increase our investments to grow sales in other emerging markets, such as Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. There are risks inherent in doing business in international markets, including:
•Difficulties in staffing and managing international operations;
•Compliance with increasing amounts of laws and regulations, including environmental, tax, import/export and anti-corruption laws, which vary from country to country, and the European Union legislation, and over time, increasing the costs of compliance and potential risks of non-compliance;
•Varying laws, regulations and other legal protections, uncertain and varying enforcement of those laws and regulations, dependence on local authorities, and the importance of local networks and relationships;
•Varying accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, accountability and protections, including risks related to the lack of access by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) ("PCAOB") to inspect PCAOB-registered accounting firms in emerging market countries such as China;
•Exposure to political and financial instability, especially with the uncertainty associated with the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in certain Euro zone countries and the stability of the European Union, which may lead to reduced sales, currency exchange losses and collection difficulties or other losses;
•Political and economic uncertainty around the world. For example, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 resulted in a sharp increase of commodity prices, sanctions and trade restrictions have been imposed on Russian banks, businesses, and individuals, and the conflict has sparked a massive refugee crisis. This conflict has driven and could continue to drive economic uncertainty, including inflation and restricted component availability, among other things;
•Import or export restrictions or licensing requirements that could affect some of our products, including those with encryption technology;
•Trade protection measures, custom duties, tariffs, import or export duties, and other trade barriers, restrictions and regulations, including recent and ongoing United States - China tariffs and trade restrictions, including China's 2021 Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law;
•Lack of infrastructure or services necessary or appropriate to support our products and services;
•Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that may be more concentrated where we operate internationally;
•Exposure to fluctuations in the value of local currencies;
•Difficulties and increased costs in establishing sales and distribution channels in unfamiliar markets, with their own market characteristics and competition, including entrenched local competition;
•Weak protection of our intellectual property rights;
•Higher credit risks;
•Variations in VAT (value-added tax) or VAT reimbursement;
•Imposition of currency exchange controls;
•Delays from customs brokers or government agencies; and
•A broad range of customs, consumer trends, and more.
Any of these risks could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
Sales growth in key markets, including China, is an important part of our expectations for our business. As a result, if economic, political or business conditions deteriorate in these markets, or if one or more of the risks described above materialize in these markets, our overall business and results of operations will be adversely affected.
Changes in trade policy and regulations in the United States and other countries, including changes in trade agreements and the imposition of tariffs and the resulting consequences, may have adverse impacts on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
In recent years, the U.S. government has instituted or proposed changes to international trade policy through the renegotiation, and potential termination, of certain existing bilateral or multilateral trade agreements and treaties with, and the imposition of tariffs on a wide range of products and other goods from, China, countries in EMEA and other countries. As previously disclosed, we have invested significantly in manufacturing facilities in China and Southeast Asia. Given our manufacturing principally in those countries, and our lack of manufacturing elsewhere, policy or regulations changes in the United States or other countries present particular risks for us.
In addition, the current Chinese administration has imposed an increased volume of regulation creating a more challenging environment for non-Chinese companies operating in the region, including in the areas of intellectual property, trade, contract enforcement, data privacy, capital markets and human rights. As a result, such regulations may have the effect of limiting our growth and market share in China, and disrupting manufacturing and operations in the region.
For example, on June 10, 2021, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee of the People’s Republic of China passed China's new Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law. The Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law took immediate effect and allows China to take “retaliatory action” against any “discriminatorily restrictive measures” imposed by foreign countries against Chinese organizations and citizens. As a result, China may impose countermeasures against government and private entities and/or persons that formulate, implement or comply with any regulation deemed a “discriminatorily restrictive measure.” Penalties may include denial of entry to China, prohibition of doing business in or with China, freezing of assets and “any other necessary measures.”
New or increased tariffs could adversely affect more or all of our products. There also are risks associated with retaliatory tariffs and resulting trade wars. We cannot predict future trade policy and regulations in the United States and other countries, the terms of any renegotiated trade agreements or treaties, or tariffs and their impact on our business. A trade war could have a significant adverse effect on world trade and the world economy. To the extent that trade tariffs and other restrictions imposed by the United States or other countries increase the price of, or limit the amount of, our products or components or materials used in our products imported into the United States or other countries, or create adverse tax consequences, the sales, cost or gross margin of our products may be adversely affected and the demand from our customers for products and services may be diminished. Uncertainty surrounding international trade policy and regulations as well as disputes and protectionist measures could also have an adverse effect on consumer confidence and spending. If we deem it necessary to alter all or a portion of our activities or operations in response to such policies, agreements or tariffs, our capital and operating costs may increase.
In addition, as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, sanctions and trade restrictions have been imposed on Russia, including banks, businesses, and individuals, by the U.S., the European Union and Switzerland. This conflict has driven and could continue to drive economic uncertainty, including inflation, and component availability, among other things.
Our ongoing efforts to address these risks may not be effective and may have long-term adverse effects on our operations and operating results that we may not be able to reverse. Such efforts may also take time to implement or to have an effect and may result in adverse quarterly financial results or fluctuations in our quarterly financial results. As a result, changes in trade policy and regulations in the United States and other countries as well as
changes in trade agreements and tariffs and sanctions imposed on Russia could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our financial performance is subject to risks associated with fluctuations in currency exchange rates.
A significant portion of our business is conducted in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar. Therefore, we face exposure to movements in currency exchange rates.
Our primary exposure to movements in currency exchange rates relates to non-U.S. Dollar-denominated sales and operating expenses worldwide. For the three months ended June 30, 2022, approximately 51% of our revenue was in non-U.S. denominated currencies. The weakening of currencies relative to the U.S. Dollar adversely affects the U.S. Dollar value of our non-U.S. Dollar-denominated sales and earnings. If we raise international pricing to compensate, it could potentially reduce demand for our products, adversely affecting our sales and potentially having an adverse impact on our market share. Margins on sales of our products in non-U.S. Dollar-denominated countries and on sales of products that include components obtained from suppliers in non-U.S. Dollar-denominated countries could be adversely affected by currency exchange rate fluctuations. In some circumstances, for competitive or other reasons, we may decide not to raise local prices to fully offset the U.S. Dollar’s strengthening, which would adversely affect the U.S. Dollar value of our non-U.S. Dollar-denominated sales and earnings. Competitive conditions in the markets in which we operate may also limit our ability to increase prices in the event of fluctuations in currency exchange rates. Conversely, strengthening of currency rates may also increase our product component costs and other expenses denominated in those currencies, adversely affecting operating results. We further note that a larger portion of our sales than of our expenses are denominated in non-U.S. denominated currencies.
We use derivative instruments to hedge certain exposures to fluctuations in currency exchange rates. The use of such hedging activities may not offset any, or more than a portion, of the adverse financial effects of unfavorable movements in currency exchange rates over the limited time the hedges are in place and do not protect us from long term shifts in currency exchange rates.
As a result, fluctuations in currency exchange rates could and have in the past adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition. Moreover, these exposures may change over time.
We are subject to risks related to our environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) activities and disclosures.
Concern over climate change may result in new or additional legal, legislative and regulatory requirements to reduce or mitigate the effects of climate change on the environment, which could result in future tax, transportation and other cost increases that could adversely affect our business. Compliance with such requirements could also require additional expenditures by us or our suppliers, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
In addition, ESG reporting and disclosure requirements continue to evolve, with increasing global regulation and heightened investor expectations. Companies must develop an expanded set of metrics and measures, data collection and processing, controls, and reporting processes in order to meet regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations. Failure to promptly and accurately meet these expectations and requirements may result in reputational and brand damage, regulatory penalties and litigation among other things.
As a company operating in many markets and jurisdictions, expanding into new growth categories, and engaging in acquisitions, and as a Swiss, dual-listed company, we are subject to risks associated with new, existing and potential future laws and regulations.
Based on our current business model and as we expand into new markets and product categories and acquire companies, businesses and assets, we must comply with a wide variety of laws, standards and other requirements governing, among other things, health and safety, hazardous materials usage, product-related energy consumption, conflict minerals, packaging, recycling, environmental and human rights matters. Our products may be required to obtain regulatory approvals and satisfy other regulatory concerns in the various jurisdictions where they are manufactured, sold or both. Companies, businesses and assets that we acquire may not be in compliance with regulations in all jurisdictions. These requirements create procurement and design challenges, which, among other things, require us to incur additional costs identifying suppliers and contract manufacturers who can provide or
obtain compliant materials, parts and end products. Failure to comply with such requirements can subject us to liability, additional costs, and reputational harm and, in severe cases, force us to recall products or prevent us from selling our products in certain jurisdictions. We also are subject to the SEC disclosure requirements regarding the use of certain minerals, known as conflict minerals, which are mined from the Democratic Republic of Congo and adjoining countries, as well as procedures regarding a manufacturer’s efforts to identify and prevent the sourcing of such minerals and metals produced from those minerals. The moral and regulatory imperatives to avoid purchasing conflict minerals are causing us to incur additional expenses, could limit the supply and increase the cost of certain metals used in manufacturing our products and could adversely affect the distribution and sales of our products.
As a Swiss company with shares listed on both the SIX Swiss Exchange and the Nasdaq Global Select Market, we are also subject to both Swiss and United States corporate governance and securities laws and regulations. In addition to the extra costs and regulatory burdens of our dual regulatory obligations, the two regulatory regimes may not always be compatible and may impose disclosure obligations, operating restrictions or tax effects on our business to which our competitors and other companies are not subject. For example, on January 1, 2014, subject to certain transitional provisions, the Swiss Federal Council Ordinance Against Excessive Compensation at Public Companies ("Ordinance") became effective in connection with the Minder initiative approved by Swiss voters during 2013. The Ordinance, among other things, (a) requires a binding shareholder “say on pay” vote with respect to the compensation of members of our executive management and Board of Directors, (b) generally prohibits the making of severance, advance, transaction premiums and similar payments to members of our executive management and Board of Directors, (c) imposes other restrictive compensation practices, and (d) requires that our articles of incorporation specify various compensation-related matters. In addition, during 2013, Swiss voters considered an initiative to limit pay for a chief executive officer to a multiple of no more than twelve times the salary of the lowest-paid employee. Although voters rejected that initiative, it did receive substantial voter support. The Ordinance, potential future initiatives relating to corporate governance or executive compensation, and Swiss voter sentiment in favor of such regulations may increase our non-operating costs and adversely affect our ability to attract and retain executive management and members of our Board of Directors.
We prepare our consolidated financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S. ("U.S. GAAP") which are subject to interpretation or changes by the Financial Accounting Standard Board ("FASB"), the SEC and other various bodies formed to promulgate and interpret appropriate accounting principles. New accounting pronouncements and changes in accounting principles have occurred in the past and are expected to occur in the future which may have a significant effect on our financial results or our compliance with regulations.
As a result of changes in tax laws, treaties, rulings, regulations or agreements, or their interpretation, of Switzerland or any other country in which we operate, the loss of a major tax dispute or a successful challenge to our operating structure, intercompany pricing policies or the taxable presence of our key subsidiaries in certain countries, or other factors, our effective income tax rates may increase, which could adversely affect our net income and cash flows.
We are incorporated in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland, and our effective income tax rate benefited from a longstanding ruling from the canton of Vaud through December 31, 2019. As a result of the Federal Act on the Tax Reform and AHV Financing (“TRAF”), the canton of Vaud enacted tax reforms on March 10, 2020 that took effect as of January 1, 2020. As a result of the reform, Logitech will incur cash income taxes that will increase over time as the deferred income tax benefit established in connection with the reform diminishes. The canton’s tax authority is primarily delegated by the Swiss federal government and its implementation of TRAF in general or with respect to Logitech is subject to Swiss federal review and challenge. Implementation of any material change in tax laws or policies or the adoption of new interpretations of existing tax laws and rulings, or termination or replacement of our tax arrangements with the canton of Vaud, by Switzerland or the canton of Vaud could result in a higher effective income tax rate, or a decreased tax asset, a charge to earnings and an accelerated pace of increase in our effective income tax rate, or a combination of such impacts, on our worldwide earnings and any such change will adversely affect our net income. Changes in our effective income tax rate may also make it more difficult to compare our net income and earnings per share between periods.
We operate in multiple jurisdictions and our profits are taxed pursuant to the tax laws of these jurisdictions. Our effective income tax rate may be affected by changes in or interpretations of tax laws, treaties, rulings, regulations or agreements in any given jurisdiction, or changes in international tax reform by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and similar organizations, utilization of net operating loss and tax credit carryforwards, changes in geographical allocation of income and expense, and changes in management’s assessment of matters
such as the realizability of deferred tax assets. In the past, we have experienced fluctuations in our effective income tax rate. Our effective income tax rate in a given fiscal year reflects a variety of factors that may not be present in the succeeding fiscal year or years. There is no assurance that our effective income tax rate will not change in future periods.
We file Swiss and foreign tax returns. We are frequently subject to tax audits, examinations and assessments in various jurisdictions. If any tax authority successfully challenges our operational structure, intercompany pricing policies or the taxable presence of our key subsidiaries in certain countries, if the terms of certain income tax treaties are interpreted in a manner that is adverse to our structure, or if we lose a material tax dispute in any country, our effective income tax rate could increase. For example, policy changes in Switzerland, the United States or China predicated on our presence in those countries could adversely affect where we recognize profit and our effective income tax rate. A material assessment by a governing tax authority could adversely affect our profitability. If our effective income tax rate increases in future periods, our net income and cash flows could be adversely affected.
Risks Related to Cyber Security, Privacy, and Intellectual Property
Significant disruptions in, or breaches in security of, our websites, or information technology systems, or our products could adversely affect our business.
As a consumer electronics company, our websites are an important presentation of our company, identity and brands and an important means of interaction with and source of information for consumers of our products. We also rely on our centralized information technology systems for product-related information and to store intellectual property, forecast our business, maintain financial records, manage operations and inventory, and operate other critical functions. We allocate significant resources to maintain our information technology systems and deploy network security, data encryption, training and other measures to protect against unauthorized access or misuse. Nevertheless, our websites and information technology systems have been and could continue to be subject to or threatened with, and are susceptible to damage, disruptions or shutdowns due to power outages, hardware failures, structural or operational failures, computer viruses, attacks by computer hackers, other data security issues, telecommunication failures, user error, malfeasance, catastrophes, system or software upgrades, integration or migration, or other foreseeable and unforeseen events. From time to time, we and our suppliers have identified vulnerabilities or other issues that we believe have been addressed, and we expect such issues to continue to arise. None of such disruptions or issues has individually or in the aggregate resulted in security incidents with a material impact on us. Moreover, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increased risk that we may experience security breach related incidents as a result of our employees, service providers, and third parties working remotely on less secure systems. In addition, our growth, and increased frequency and sophistication of cyber and product security attacks may increase the likelihood of the Company becoming a target of increasingly complex and damaging attacks that substantially disrupt operations and expose sensitive data. Further, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the European Central Bank have both issued warnings about potential Russian cyberattacks as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed on Russia. Breaches or disruptions of our websites or information technology systems, breaches of confidential information, data corruption or other data security issues could adversely affect our brands, reputation, relationships with customers or business partners, or consumer or investor perception of our company, business or products or result in disruptions of our operations, loss of intellectual property or our customers’ or our business partners’ data, reduced value of our investments in our brands, design, research and development or engineering, or costs to address regulatory inquiries or actions or private litigation, to respond to customers or partners or to rebuild or restore our websites or information technology systems.
The collection, storage, transmission, use and distribution of user data could give rise to liabilities and additional costs of operation as a result of laws, governmental regulation and risks of data breaches and security incidents.
In connection with our operations, we collect personal data, including that of our consumers. This information is increasingly subject to legislation, regulations and enforcement in numerous jurisdictions around the world. Global data privacy regulation is increasingly fragmented, with increasing enforcement efforts and penalties. Such fragmentation requires more complex and costly compliance structures, while heightened enforcement increases the cost and reputational risk associated with even minor compliance errors.
For example, the General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR"), which is applicable to us and to all companies processing data of people in the European Union, imposes significant fines and sanctions for violation of the Regulation. Compliance with the GDPR's international transfer rules has been made more difficult by the invalidation of the U.S. European Union Privacy Shield and we are now required to put in place additional privacy protective measures for transfer of data of people in the European Union to certain countries outside of the European Economic Area. In the United States, California and Virginia have already adopted privacy laws and other legislations may follow, at states and federal levels. Such laws and regulations are typically intended to protect the privacy and security of personal information and its collection, storage, transmission, use and distribution in or from the governing jurisdiction. In addition, because various jurisdictions have different laws and regulations concerning the use, storage and transmission of such information, we may face requirements that pose compliance challenges in existing markets as well as new international markets that we seek to enter. The collection of user data heightens the risk of security breaches and other data security issues related to our IT systems and the systems of third-party data storage and other service and IT providers. Such laws and regulations, and the variation between jurisdictions, as well as additional security measures and risk, could subject us to increased costs, allocation of additional resources, financial penalties or other liabilities or negative publicity that could adversely affect our business.
Claims by others that we infringe their proprietary technology could adversely affect our business.
We have been expanding the categories of products we sell, such as entering new markets and introducing products for tablets, other mobile devices, digital music, and video collaboration. We expect to continue to enter new categories and markets. As we do so, we face an increased risk that claims alleging we infringe the patent or other intellectual property rights of others, regardless of the merit of the claims, may increase in number and significance. Infringement claims against us may also increase as the functionality of video, voice, data and conferencing products begin to overlap. This risk is heightened by the increase in lawsuits brought by holders of patents that do not have an operating business or are attempting to license broad patent portfolios and by the increasing attempts by companies in the technology industries to enjoin their competitors from selling products that they claim infringe their intellectual property rights. Intellectual property lawsuits are subject to inherent uncertainties due to the complexity of the technical issues involved, and we cannot be certain that we will be successful in defending ourselves against intellectual property claims. A successful claimant could secure a judgment that requires us to pay substantial damages or prevents us from distributing certain products or performing certain services. We might also be required to seek a license for the use of such intellectual property, which may not be available on commercially acceptable terms or at all. Alternatively, we may be required to develop non-infringing technology, which could require significant effort and expense and may ultimately not be successful. Any claims or proceedings against us, whether meritorious or not, could be time consuming, result in costly litigation or the diversion of significant operational resources, or require us to enter into royalty or licensing agreements, any of which could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We may be unable to protect our proprietary rights. Unauthorized use of our technology may result in the development of products that compete with our products.
Our future success depends in part on our proprietary technology, technical know-how and other intellectual property. We rely on a combination of patent, trade secret, copyright, trademark and other intellectual property laws, and confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions such as nondisclosure terms and licenses, to protect our intellectual property.
We hold various United States patents and pending applications, together with corresponding patents and pending applications from other countries. It is possible that any patent owned by us will be invalidated, deemed unenforceable, circumvented or challenged, that the patent rights granted will not provide competitive advantages to us, or that any of our pending or future patent applications will not be granted, maintained or enforced. In addition, other intellectual property laws or our confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions may not adequately protect our intellectual property. Also, others may independently develop similar technology, duplicate our products, or design around our patents or other intellectual property rights. Unauthorized parties have copied and may in the future attempt to copy aspects of our products or to obtain and use information that we regard as proprietary. Any of these events could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
Risks Related to our Financial Results
Our operating results are difficult to predict and fluctuations in results may cause volatility in the price of our shares.
Our revenues and profitability are difficult to predict due to the nature of the markets in which we compete, fluctuating user demand, the uncertainty of current and future global economic conditions, and for many other reasons, including the following:
•Our operating results are highly dependent on the volume and timing of orders received during the quarter, which are difficult to forecast. Customers generally order on an as-needed basis and we typically do not obtain firm, long-term purchase commitments from our customers. As a result, our revenues in any quarter depend primarily on orders booked and shipped in that quarter.
•A significant portion of our quarterly retail sales typically occurs in the last weeks of each quarter, further increasing the difficulty in predicting quarterly revenues and profitability.
•Our sales are impacted by consumer demand and current and future global economic and political conditions, including trade restrictions and tariffs, and can, therefore, fluctuate abruptly and significantly during periods of uncertain economic conditions or geographic distress, as well as from shifts in distributor inventory practices and consumer buying patterns.
•We must incur a large portion of our costs in advance of sales orders because we must plan research and production, order components, buy tooling equipment, and enter into development, sales and marketing, and other operating commitments prior to obtaining firm commitments from our customers. This makes it difficult for us to rapidly adjust our costs during the quarter in response to a revenue shortfall, which could adversely affect our operating results.
•From time to time, we engage in opportunistic marketing and sales activities, including advertising and promotional events to enhance our brand awareness. The effectiveness of our marketing and sales efforts is uncertain and it is difficult to predict whether our marketing and sales efforts will result in increased sales.
•The COVID-19 pandemic has led to evolving changes in our supply, operations, logistics and related expenses and use patterns and demand for certain of our products that may not recur or be sustainable in future periods, as well as uncertainty in global macroeconomic conditions.
•We engage in acquisitions and divestitures, and such activity varies from period to period. Such variance may affect our growth, our previous outlook and expectations, and comparisons of our operating results and financial statements between periods.
•We are continuously attempting to simplify our organization, to control operating costs through expense and global workforce management, to reduce the complexity of our product portfolio, and to better align costs with our current business as we expand from PC accessories and provide leverage for growth opportunities in accessories and other products and services for creativity and productivity, gaming, video collaboration, mobile devices, music, digital home and other product categories. We may not achieve the cost savings or other anticipated benefits from these efforts, and the success or failure of such efforts may cause our operating results to fluctuate and to be difficult to predict.
•Fluctuations in currency exchange rates can impact our revenues, expenses and profitability because we report our financial statements in U.S. Dollars, whereas a significant portion of our revenues and expenses are in other currencies. We attempt to adjust product prices over time to offset the impact of currency movements. However, over short periods of time, during periods of weakness in consumer spending or given high levels of competition in many product categories, our ability to change local currency prices to offset the impact of currency fluctuations is limited.
Because our operating results are difficult to predict, our results may be below the expectations of financial analysts and investors, which could cause the price of our shares to decline.
Our gross margins can vary significantly depending on multiple factors, which can result in unanticipated fluctuations in our operating results.
Our gross margins can vary due to consumer demand, competition, product pricing, product lifecycle, product mix, new product introductions, unit volumes, acquisitions and divestitures, commodity, supply chain and logistics
costs, capacity utilization, geographic sales mix, currency exchange rates, trade policy and tariffs, and the complexity and functionality of new product innovations and other factors. In particular, if we are not able to introduce new products in a timely manner at the product cost we expect, or if consumer demand for our products is less than we anticipate, or if there are product pricing, marketing and other initiatives by our competitors to which we need to react or that are initiated by us to drive sales that lower our margins, then our overall gross margin will be less than we project.
In addition, our gross margins may vary significantly by product line, sales geography and customer type, as well as within product lines. When the mix of products sold shifts from higher margin product lines to lower margin product lines, to lower margin sales geographies, or to lower margin products within product lines, our overall gross margins and our profitability may be adversely affected.
As we expand within and into new product categories, our products in those categories may have lower gross margins than in our traditional product categories. Consumer demand in these product categories, based on style, color and other factors, tends to be less predictable and tends to vary more across geographic markets. As a result, we may face higher up-front investments, inventory costs associated with attempting to anticipate consumer preferences, and increased inventory write-offs. If we are unable to offset these potentially lower margins by enhancing the margins in our more traditional product categories, our profitability may be adversely affected.
Changes in trade policy, including tariffs and the tariffs focused on China in particular, and currency exchange rates also have adverse impacts on our gross margins.
The impact of these factors on gross margins can create unanticipated fluctuations in our operating results, which may cause volatility in the price of our shares.
We cannot ensure that our current share repurchase program will be fully utilized or that it will enhance long-term shareholder value. Share repurchases may also increase the volatility of the trading price of our shares. We similarly cannot ensure that we will continue to increase our dividend payments or to pay dividends at all. Share repurchases and dividends diminish our cash reserves.
In July 2022, our Board of Directors approved a $500 million increase to our current repurchase program of our registered shares up to $1.5 billion. We have also paid cash dividends and increased the size of our dividend, each year since fiscal year 2013. Our share repurchase program and dividend policy may be affected by many factors, including general business and economic conditions, our financial condition and operating results, our views on potential future capital requirements, restrictions imposed in any future debt agreements, the emergence of alternative investment or acquisition opportunities, changes in our business strategy, legal requirements, changes in tax laws, and other factors. Our share repurchase program does not obligate us to repurchase all or any of the dollar value of shares authorized for repurchase. The program could also increase the volatility of the trading price of our shares. Similarly, we are not obligated to pay dividends on our registered shares. Under Swiss law, we may only pay dividends upon the approval of a majority of our shareholders, which is under the discretion of and generally follows a recommendation by our Board of Directors that such a dividend is in the best interests of our shareholders. There can be no assurance that our Board of Directors will continue to recommend, or that our shareholders will approve, dividend increases or any dividend at all. If we do not pay a regular dividend, we may lose the interest of investors that focus their investments on dividend-paying companies, which could create downward pressure on our share price. Any announcement of termination or suspension of our share repurchase program or dividend may result in a decrease in our share price. The share repurchase program and payment of cash dividends could also diminish our cash reserves that may be needed for investments in our business, acquisitions or other purposes. Without dividends, the trading price of our shares must appreciate for investors to realize a gain on their investment.