Zebra Technologies' (ZBRA) CEO Anders Gustafsson on 4Q and FY2020 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

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Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:ZBRA) 4Q and FY2020 Earnings Conference Call February 11, 2021 8:30 AM ET

Company Participants

Anders Gustafsson – Chief Executive Officer

Mike Steele – Vice President-Investor Relations

Nathan Winters – Chief Financial Officer

Joe Heel – Senior Vice President-Global Sales

Conference Call Participants

Andrew Buscaglia – Berenberg

Tommy Moll – Stephens

Jim Ricchiuti – Needham and Company

Meta Marshall – Morgan Stanley

Paul Coster – JPMorgan

Joe Aiken – William Blair

Richard Eastman – Robert W. Baird

Keith Housum – Northcoast Research

Blake Gendron – Wolfe Research

Operator

Good day, and welcome to the Zebra Technologies’ Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Earnings Results Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Please note this event is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Mike Steele, Vice President, Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Mike Steele

Good morning and welcome to Zebra’s fourth quarter conference call. This presentation is being simulcast on our website at investors.zebra.com, it will be archived there for at least one year.

Slide 2 conveys that the forward-looking statements we make today are based on current expectations and assumptions and are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially due to factors discussed in our filings with the SEC Filings. During this call, we will reference to non-GAAP financial measures as we describe our business performance. You can find reconciliations at the end of this slide presentation and in today’s earnings press release.

Throughout this presentation, unless otherwise indicated, our references to sales growth are year-over-year on a constant currency basis and exclude results from the recently acquired businesses for the 12 months following each acquisition.

This presentation will include prepared remarks from Anders Gustafsson, our Chief Executive Officer; and Nathan Winters, our Chief Financial Officer. Anders will begin with our fourth quarter results, then Nathan will provide additional detail on the financials and discuss our 2021 outlook. Anders will conclude with progress made on advancing our Enterprise Asset Intelligence vision. Following the prepared remarks, Joe Heel, our Senior Vice President of Global Sales, will join us as we take your questions.

Now I'll flip slide forward as I turn the call over to Anders.

Anders Gustafsson

Thank you, Mike. Good morning everyone. And thank you for joining us. I am proud of our employees’ resiliency and focus on serving our customers’ critical needs during the pandemic. Through their efforts, we were able to deliver exceptional results to close out a challenging 2020.

For the quarter, we realized adjusted net sales growth of more than 10%, or more than 8% on an organic basis. An adjusted EBITDA margin of 23.5%, a 210 basis points year-over-year improvement. Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share of $4.46, a 25% increase from the prior year. And strong free cash flow. Each of these measures significantly exceeded our outlook.

We generated more business in Q4 than any other quarter in our history. Our teams executed well to satisfy a faster than expected recovery in demand from smaller customers through our distribution channel, particularly for our printing solutions. Demand from our large customers also continued to be strong due to their need to digitize and automate workflows in an increasingly on-demand economy. We also drove improved profitability and cash flow while investing in research and development projects to drive sustainable profitable growth.

Our record Q4 results kept a challenging full year 2020 in which we realized slight declines in sales and earnings per share. However, we did achieve record free cash flow of $895 million for the year.

With that, I will now turn the call over to Nathan to review our Q4 financial results in more detail and discuss our 2021 outlook.

Nathan Winters

Thank you, Anders. Let's start with the P&L on Slide 6. In Q4, we returned to profitable growth after particularly challenging first nine months of the year. Net sales increased 8.3% before the impact of currency and acquisitions. Our sales mix of large and small orders normalized to pre pandemic levels driven by a recovery of our run rate business, which was driven in part by pent-up demand.

Our Asset Intelligence & Tracking segment, including printing and supplies significantly benefited from the recovery in smaller business demand, with segment sales increasing 14% from the prior year. Our Enterprise Visibility & Mobility segment sales increased 5.6%, driven by solid growth and enterprise mobile computing solutions. We also realized strong growth in services and software, driven by our managed and support services and Zebra Retail Solutions.

From a regional perspective, we realized solid year-over-year growth in North America and significant growth in EMEA. While AsiaPac and Latin America were slower to recover. In North America, sales increased 6% printing, supplies, data capture and services were bright spots. In EMEA, sales increased 20% printing, supplies, mobile computing and services grew double digits, as we saw strong demand through our partner distribution channel. APAC sales were down 4% year-over-year, yet increased sequentially. Printing and mobile computing were bright spots and we saw modest growth in China. Latin America sales declined 15% with all major product and service categories declining in a challenging macro environment.

Adjusted gross margin expanded 200 basis points to 47.8%, driven primarily by a $12 million recovery of China import tariffs paid in prior periods and improved services and software margin. Business mix had a negligible impact on year-on-year margin comparisons. Additionally, this quarter's results were impacted by $10 million of premium freight costs.

Adjusted operating expenses increased $28 million from the prior year period, and improved 20 basis points as a percentage of sales. We continue to diligently manage costs while accelerating high return investments in the business.

Fourth quarter adjusted EBITDA margin was 23.5%, a 210 basis point increase from the prior year period, primarily driven by higher gross margin. We drove non-GAAP earnings per diluted share of $4.46, a $0.90 or 25.3% year-over-year increase.

Turning now to the balance sheet and cash flow highlights on Slide 7, we generated $895 million of free cash flow in full year 2020. This was $271 million higher than the prior year. Free cash flow conversion of 130% was significantly higher than our target of 100%, primarily due to timing of customer collections, and vendor payments. Lower 2020 payments of incentive compensation, taxes and interest also contributed to the improvement. Our balance sheet remains strong.

From a debt leverage perspective, we ended 2020 at 1.2 times net debt to adjusted EBITDA leverage ratio, which is comfortably below our target maximum of 2.5 times.

Let's now turn to our outlook. We entered the new year with a strong order backlog and healthy channel inventory levels. We are encouraged by the pickup in demand primarily from our smaller customers, which includes pent-up demand from those who had paused spending during the peak of the pandemic. This momentum, along with our sales pipeline, positions us well for double digit sales growth for the first quarter and full year 2021.

In Q1, we expect adjusted net sales to increase between 25% and 29%. This outlook assumes a 300 basis point to 350 basis point additive impact from the acquisition of Reflexis and foreign currency changes. We anticipate Q1 adjusted EBITDA margin of slightly higher than 23%, which assumes gross margin expansion and operating expense leverage. Non-GAAP diluted EPS is expected to be in the range of $4.30 to $4.50.

For the full year 2021, we anticipate adjusted net sales growth between 10% and 14% with growth moderating through the year as we cycled more challenging comparisons and navigate a continued uncertain global economic recovery. This outlook assumes approximately three percentage points additive impact from the acquisition of Reflexis and foreign currency changes. We anticipate full year 2021 adjusted EBITDA margin between 21% to 22%, which assumed gross margin expansion from the prior year. We expect free cash flow to be at least $700 million for the year. We do not expect to repeat the exceptionally high level of free cash flow conversion that we achieved in 2020.

Please reference additional modeling assumptions shown on Slide 8.

With that, I will turn the call back to Anders to discuss how we are advancing our Enterprise Asset Intelligence vision in our end markets.

Anders Gustafsson

Thank you, Nathan. Our team has done a fantastic job executing in a challenging environment. We have strong momentum entering 2021 supported by our order backlog and pipeline of business. We continue to build on our industry leading offerings by investing in our people, operations and innovation to drive sustainable growth. In 2020, we acquired Reflexis and launched a record number of new products and solutions to ensure that we continue to advance our industry leadership position.

Slide 10 highlights how we are building on our foundational capabilities to elevate our value proposition. We are uniquely positioned to solve our customer's complex operational challenges. Our unmatched access to frontline operational data from our best installed base of products and solutions can be harnessed to gain real time actionable insights. The result is a more intelligent enterprise with optimized work flows. Through the pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in the adoption of omnichannel and online shopping. Retailers need proven solutions to overcome the significant fulfillment challenges post by this profound behavioral shift.

If goods are not delivered or made available for pickup as promised, the retailer risks losing its shopper to a competitor. To address this issue, retailers have been prioritizing their capital spend in our broad portfolio of solutions with a sense of urgency. We are enabling retailers to generate an unprecedented amount of valuable data captured through mobile computers, point-of-sale systems, RFID, and other intelligent automation solutions. All of which are critical to digitizing their operations. Key benefits to the retailer include better operational visibility and insights, increased employee collaboration and labor productivity, improved inventory accuracy, well equipped associates would real-time actionable information and more satisfied customers.

Last month, we participated in the National Retail Federation’s virtual sessions, where we showcased how Zebra solutions help retailers deliver a superior omnichannel shopping experience. At one of the sessions AutoZone explained how our Reflexis workforce and task management solution equipped their associates with highly flexible mobile technology that enables enhanced customer responsiveness and provides insightful data for analytics and reporting. We are proud to enable AutoZone to go the extra mile to delight its shoppers.

Now turning to Slide 12. We continue to be excited about our opportunity to help our customers meet their mission critical needs in an increasingly on demand economy. That's a trusted strategic partner. We orchestrate end-to-end workflows for customers in a variety of end markets. As I mentioned, retailers continue to prioritize investment in our products and solutions to address their omnichannel fulfillment strategies in related warehouse automation needs. In Q4, we secured multi-million dollar orders from a range of e-tailers, mass merchants, grocers, department stores and auto parts retailers. In transportation and logistics, strong e-commerce growth continues to drive parcel volumes, while last mile on demand fulfillment has become increasingly important.

Italian post recently selected our printing and scanning solutions for their 13,000 post offices. Separately, the deployment of our TC7 series mobile computers to United States postal service carriers is on track to resume as expected in late Q1 with a goal of completion in Q3. In healthcare, the need for increased real-time visibility into the entire patient journey, as well as the demand for innovative solutions to provide safe and efficient care, continue to make healthcare, our highest growth and market opportunity.

In Q4, we grew our relationship with one of America's leading health care providers. New acute care applications have made it increasingly important for this customer to equip more of their clinicians with mobile computers. The most recent use case we addressed was COVID drive-through testing with our healthcare purposed TC5 series mobile computers, which seamlessly interfaces with their electronic medical record system.

Although the manufacturing sector has been hardest hit in 2020, we are optimistic regarding our prospects of returning to growth soon. We see vibrant opportunity to increase automation in workflows, and we are viewed as a visionary in this market. In Q4, we also secured notable wins beyond our traditional end markets. This included a competitive takeaway win with a leading waste hauler in North America. This customer initiated a multi-year rollout of our ET5 series tablets, accessories and related services for its dispatch application, which is improving training and productivity among its drivers, dispatchers and supervisors.

Another important win was with one of the largest metropolitan police departments in the United States using our TC7 series mobile computers along with ZQ5 series mobile printers. They implemented an automated parking citation application that generated enough revenue to cover their technology investment in a matter of months.

In closing, we continued to find substantial opportunities in our primary end markets. And we are excited about the emerging prospects we see in new markets. We are well positioned for ongoing success as the need to digitize and automate workflows continues to accelerate.

Now, I’ll hand the call back over to Mike.

Mike Steele

Thanks, Anders. We'll now open the call to Q&A. We ask that you limit yourself to one question and one follow-up, so that we can get to as many of you as possible.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

[Operator Instructions] The first question comes from Andrew Buscaglia from Berenberg. Please go ahead.

Andrew Buscaglia

Good morning, guys. Thanks for taking my question.

Anders Gustafsson

Good morning.

Andrew Buscaglia

So your guidance, such a strong Q1 guidance, yet for the full-year, it seems conservative. And can you talk about what you're expecting towards, more towards the back half of the year, because your guidance implies maybe for EVM more low single-digit growth, AIT probably going negative in Q4. What's built into that back half, any color would be great.

Anders Gustafsson

First, our industry leadership and our steadfast investments in the – in our broad solutions is what's enabling us to rebound stronger and I think faster than our competitors. So we do expect double-digit growth for Q1, but also for the full year 2021. And obviously, this is a strong rebound from a more challenging 2020. We do feel as confident as ever about our business. We do expect growth across all our regions, verticals and business lines as we look at 2021. But we are a bit more cautious about our – the assumptions we put into our second half forecast, given the global macro uncertainty that we're facing. And we're also starting to cycle so much tougher comps in Q4. We should also mention – we are not assuming any growth in large deals or large accounts in the second half of 2021.

Andrew Buscaglia

Okay. And how much of USPS is in the Q1 guide, because that's such a big guide. And then, maybe any other color you can give us on USPS into Q2 and Q3. So maybe percentage that it accounted for per quarter or something.

Anders Gustafsson

Yes. So on USPS, the roll-outs progressing as we expected. The teams are continuing to be highly engaged, as we noted the current roll-outs around our EMC 300,000 TC-77 and the 300,000 roll-out, we paused that since October going into the election and holiday season. And we do expect that to resume in late Q1 and really a modest impact in our Q1 guide.

And then, for the full year, we expect USPS but a point of our sales growth, of the USPS growth to account for about a point of our full-year growth primarily in the first half of the year.

Andrew Buscaglia

Okay. So not much, so that Q1 guide, not much, because that's all pure organic, very little related to USPS, that as pure like end market demand – is it primarily in EVM or is it or is there sort of a bulky order in AIT or one of the other?

Anders Gustafsson

So it’s correct on USPS and I'd say broad based across both segments in Q1.

Andrew Buscaglia

Okay. All right. Thanks guys.

Anders Gustafsson

It's been nice to see the business that performed very nicely in Q4 and the outlook for Q1 across all our products and verticals.

Andrew Buscaglia

Okay. Thanks, Anders.

Operator

The next question is from Tommy Moll of Stephens. Please go ahead.

Tommy Moll

Good morning, and thanks for taking my questions.

Anders Gustafsson

Good morning.

Tommy Moll

Anders, I wanted to start with a follow-up on your retail and e-commerce end markets. And in the second half of last year, maybe most of last year, once the pandemic took hold, it sounded like within those end markets, it was larger customers who are leaning in quicker into some of the omnichannel capabilities that you offer? Then, in today's commentary, you indicated that some small customer activity has resumed and is looking positive, maybe some of that is on the printer side. But I'm curious what you could give us on the mid or smaller-sized customers within those retail and e-com's end markets, anything changing for the better there or any context would be helpful.

Anders Gustafsson

Yes, first, I'd say that across all the verticals that we are uniquely positioned to empower front-line workers to perform their duties better and more effectively and with higher customer service, particularly where COVID-19 has helped accelerate some of those secular trends around digitization and automation. So each of our four primary verticals have had a positive growth trajectory as we entered into 2021. And we're making good progress also in some newer expansion verticals that we talked about in our prepared remarks.

Now, specifically, for retail and e-commerce, I'd say, we saw a step change in consumer adoptions of omnichannel e-commerce as part of the early phase of COVID. If you look at in the store, buy online pickup at store and other delivery used cases, we're growing very rapidly. And in the warehouse, a lot of investments in technology to help automate them or also necessary for retailers to transform their business models. And we're starting to see pilots for our Enterprise Asset Intelligence solutions starting to resume.

And other trend that we seen in retail is around equipping all associates with a device that's also very synergistic with our Reflexis workforce and task management solutions where they work very much hand in hand. And the strength we saw around more small and medium-sized businesses was broad based. It includes retail, also e-commerce is probably less of smaller companies, that is more large businesses, but the small and medium-sized business strength that we saw, especially expand across the four verticals that we work in.

Joe Heel

Perhaps an addition from my side, Joe speaking. In the depth of the pandemic in the Q2-Q3 time frame we saw that the large retail and e-commerce customers have the wherewithal to continue investing and in fact charged headlong if you will into transforming their businesses, whereas small and medium-sized customers paused their spending and were a bit cautious, in particular outside of the U.S. we saw this phenomenon. But we also learned that the solutions that we have, in particular on the printing and scanning side, are essential to these customers and they ultimately need to come back and refresh those and that is driving a lot of pent-up demand that we were seeing in Q4 as they returned to make those essential purchases.

Tommy Moll

That's very helpful. Thank you, both. And Anders, you referenced something I wanted to ask as a follow-up relating to the proof of concept type pilots that you have with some retailers, where potentially all associates in the store have some kind of device. What additional color could you give us there just in terms of what inning we're in and in terms of those pilots, when there might be an opportunity for some larger-scale commercialization of that concept and then I noted, let's see, last month, end of January, you introduced a new mobile computer series, the EC5x, and the description there sounded like it might be tied to these pilot concepts. So I wonder if you could comment on that product innovation as well to the extent it's related.

Anders Gustafsson

For our customers to introduce a device for every worker, that's a great opportunity for Zebra. Great expansion for us. Our estimate is today that in retail, about one-third of all store associates are equipped with the device. And I'd say today, it varies greatly between retailers, how deeply they have penetrated into their associate base with devices. Some are much further long than others. We are – we have worked to basically expand our portfolio of mobile computing devices to ensure that we have an appropriate form factors and price points to enable our customers to take this more deeper into their associate base and we expect that this will be a continued trend. I'm not sure I expect it to be a big step function changes in behaviors, but more looking to continually add to – add devices to the store associate base to be able to ensure that they are all connected and able to take advantage of all the other digital tools and solutions that the retailers offer. I don’t know Joe, if you have any…

Joe Heel

Yes. I wanted to just point out two other things that I think address this question. One, you're right about the release of the EC5, it's EC50 and EC55, which are device that combine consumer-like form factor with all of the advantages that we bring into the enterprise Android ecosystems and so we expect that that device in particular will play a role in this trend of device fall, but I also wanted to point out another synergistic part of our strategy, which is the acquisition of Reflexis – well Reflexis, as you know, does task and workforce management and therefore needs to reach every worker within the enterprise, in particular, of course, retail, which is their dominant vertical, and so therefore, having a device in the hands of every worker, now all of a sudden becomes essential again and now we're in a great position to meet that demand

Tommy Moll

All very helpful. Thank you. And I will turn it back.

Operator

The next question is from Jim Ricchiuti of Needham and Company. Please go ahead.

Jim Ricchiuti

Hi, good morning. Anders, I wanted to just follow up on the comment about the second half and the assumptions around large deals. How does that – you say you're not assuming large deals. How does that compare with prior years, because typically some of that large deal activity does materialize, I would assume as you're going through the year?

Anders Gustafsson

That's correct. We – and so this is more a matter of limited visibility into the second half than it is that there is a certainty that there won't be growth in larger deals. I think this is similar to how we generally I think forecast our years. So yes.

Jim Ricchiuti

Okay. And I wonder if you could, my follow-up question is just regarding component constraints. We're hearing throughout the supply chain tightness in semiconductor components and I'm wondering to what extent that's impacting you guys as you think about your supply chain.

Anders Gustafsson

Yes. We've definitely seen the lead times extending and –but our team is working diligently and I think we are on top of it. We have incorporated whatever visibility we have to extend that lead times for semiconductors and other components into our outlook also, particularly for the second half.

Jim Ricchiuti

Thank you.

Operator

The next question is from Meta Marshall with Morgan Stanley. Please go ahead.

Meta Marshall

Great, thanks and congrats on the quarter. I guess I just wanted to dig into how you guys are thinking about gross margins into Q1 and into 2021. Clearly you guys saw a pickup in kind of your smaller customers, which would have helped gross margins in Q4. You clearly have some large deals and still some overhang from freight as you head through 2021. So just how we should be thinking of the progression of gross margins through 2021 and then maybe just as a second question, just given the kind of very healthy cash flow that you guys saw in 2020 and kind of the continuation of that into 2021, how do you guys think about balance sheet prioritization currently. Thanks.

Nathan Winters

Yes. So if you look at our full year guide EBITDA of 21% to 22%, we expect gross margin to improve year-on-year primarily due to the order size mix normalizing, which we saw in Q4 and implied in our Q1 guide. We do expect premium freight cost to persist around $30 million to $40 million, yet declining in the second half as air travel returns and within the full year guide we do expect OpEx to increase as a percent of sales, once you include the full year of Reflexis as well as the majority of our spend returning post COVID including incentive compensation and travel, particularly in the second half. I also think it's worth noting when we look at the full-year EBITDA guide, Reflexis, as we've stated, can be dollar neutral here yet slightly dilutive, given the investments in go-to-market and the platform and then we do expect that to scale over time.

On your second question, if you look at free cash flow of $895 million, a strong finish to the year, really around improved core working capital performance particularly in AR. We saw very strong collection activity and some early timing at the end of the year as well as our Q4 sales were front loaded driving some of the benefit, as well as small incremental AR factoring, lower taxes, interest expense, and incentive comp kind of driving the year-on-year beat. So when we look at, for 2021, we do expect it to decline, but primarily due to just exceptional 2020 performance and really more normalizing the free cash flow conversion rate over the two-year period.

Meta Marshall

Got it. Thanks.

Operator

The next question is from Paul Coster of JPMorgan. Please go ahead.

Paul Coster

Yes, thanks for taking my question. I am just wondering if we are at the sort of, inflection point for the company in terms of the mix shift and margin outlook. As the AIT business comes back, that will be driven by the smaller accounts here obviously has higher margins, but you've also got the software and services business growing faster, sounds like figure it out. Here you're probably saying in excess of 50% growth for the Reflexis business, which has what 20 percentage points higher gross margins than the rest of the business. So it all feels to me like we're heading towards a new margin structure over the next three or four years, can you comment on that.

Anders Gustafsson

The margin structure or more of the business inflection generally?

Paul Coster

Well, not, yes, the margin, I guess it's related obviously Anders, but our gross margins going to be expanding from here on out and is the business mix, I suppose, going to be permanently changing here?

Anders Gustafsson

Yes. Okay. I think Nathan is in best positioned to answer that.

Nathan Winters

Yeah, Paul. So if we look at margin and margin expansion over time, we do believe we can go higher. We have many levers to achieve that. I think as you mentioned scaling, some of the newer markets with richer gross margin Reflexis being an one of those proof points. And we always continue to focus on driving higher gross margin and productivity through all of our operational efficiencies across the business. And we've had a track record of doing that and driving profitable growth. And we do expect EBITDA margins to get back to the pre-pandemic levels in 2021. And we really don't see any reason that, that should be constrained as we move forward in terms of continued expansion.

Paul Coster

I guess I'm not asking my question very well. But with – is that going to be a mix shift towards AIT and service and software and will that drive-up the margins structurally over the long-term, not just to pre-pandemic levels, but to sort of almost pre MSI acquisition levels?

Anders Gustafsson

I'd say first, maybe think about the business around our core near adjacencies and around the Enterprise Asset Intelligence or Intelligent Edge Solutions, so more the newer stuff. I do believe that our core business, AIT printing and scanning side including services are very healthy, good shape and I expect them to continue to grow at a nice rate over the longer term. I don't expect printing to kind of break-out from the pack here.

Printing has been a bit more up and down over the last year. So we had probably a bit more of the pent-up demand in printing solutions than we had in some of the other solutions. But if you look into our – the Enterprise Asset Intelligence vision that we have in the Intelligent Edge Solutions, I do expect that our software assets and some of our more intelligent automation solutions to grow faster than the company average from a gross margin perspective. And obviously the scale will help us here, but also as we invest in some of the newer solutions, it will be up and kind of investment phase first. And then, we will see margins expanding we believe quite nicely once revenue starting to grow.

Paul Coster

Okay. Thanks.

Anders Gustafsson

Does that answered your question?

Paul Coster

Yes. Yes. It does. Just in passing, on the – with respect to Reflexis, am I right that it's posting more than 50% compound growth at the moment. And can you just comment on the growth rates Temptime as well?

Anders Gustafsson

So we aren't commenting on the specific growth rates that they have. But Reflexis has been growing at a nice double-digit growth rates for the last several years. And we have high expectations that will continue to do that. And it will also help accelerate some of our others – growth of some of our other software assets that it will be benefiting from being associated with and incorporated into the Reflexis platform. And Temptime has had nice growth over the last few years. And we do see this year the opportunity to accelerate growth as we support COVID-19 vaccine roll-outs also distribution, so that we do expect a double-digit growth for a our Temptime business as well.

Paul Coster

Okay. Thank you.

Operator

The next question is from Joe Aiken of William Blair. Please go ahead.

Joe Aiken

Thanks. This is Joe on for Brian today. I want to start, you mentioned in the prepared remarks, some wins beyond your traditional end markets. I think you mentioned waste hauler in particular. I was wondering if you could maybe just provide a little more color, any context around what brought you into that win and maybe what the opportunity is in different non-traditional end markets that you're seeing and how many of that could be going forward?

Anders Gustafsson

Yes. I can start with this and then Joe can also provide some extra color here. But – and so we have made – maybe so first of all on the product side, we've invested in addressing some of the use cases that we see in some of these new emerging verticals, government utilities and so forth. But also we made meaningful go-to-market investments and we've said you probably started with our acquisition of Xplore. But then we've tweaked our other products to also address these use cases more. So it's been a big focus of ours and the investment of ours over the last several years to make sure we position ourselves for this. And we now have a portfolio of solutions and partners that can help us get into these opportunities and win them. Joe?

Joe Heel

Yes. I would only add, the end markets that have shown some particular promise our government both federal and state and local as well as the broader service industry, where the highest hauling example fits in, the Xplore acquisition, where Xplore has a strong market. The rugged tablets are a strong product offering into those markets has been instrumental in leading us there. But it also has been something we've been pursuing for some time. But it does take some time to build-up the channel infrastructure as well as fine tune the product offering and higher the appropriate type of dedicated and expert sales reps who can operate in those verticals. We feel we now have that in place and it’s beginning to pay off.

Joe Aiken

Great, thanks to both of you. It's really helpful. And I know on some past calls, you've talked about the transition to Android on the mobile devices in the past, and the benefit you're seeing from that is that transition largely over at this point. And maybe just to put a finer point on that what percentage of devices do you estimate that you are shipping today are running Microsoft operating system?

Anders Gustafsson

The first around our mobile computing platform, overall, we saw solid growth in Q4, we did benefit from recovery in the small and medium sized business segments there also. There's three trends that, I think, are worth highlighting, the Android transition is one of those. But I'll start with new use cases. We talked earlier about the second trend, which was around worth putting a device in the in the hand of every worker. But use cases has probably been the biggest driver. Think about omnichannel and retail, healthcare is a newer vertical, which largely has new use cases.

And then the third trend around, the Android transition. We still have lots of momentum around the Android transition and a lot of opportunity left in that we have – our market share in Android is still around 60%. But Android now makes up about 80% of our mobile computing sales. We've often talked about the transitioning from – transitioning older legacy Windows devices to Android. But today, I think, the opportunity to refresh, existing installed older Android devices is actually bigger.

Our estimate is that there is now low-double-digit, millions of Android devices in the market with somewhat shorter refresh cycle than the old Windows devices used to have. And we expect that there's about a high-single-digit million Windows devices out there. So, it's more of a balanced perspective and we certainly like to get both of those. But Android has been a great catalyst for growth for us.

Joe Aiken

That's really helpful. Thanks for taking my questions.

Operator

The next question is from Richard Eastman, of Robert W. Baird. Please go ahead.

Richard Eastman

Just a quick question. Could you tell us the China tariff rebate impacted gross profit margin did that impact the EVM margin? Was that solely confined to EVM?

Anders Gustafsson

It was – great, thanks for the question. So out of the $12 million, $8 million was associated with EVM and then $4 million was for AIT.

Richard Eastman

Okay.

Anders Gustafsson

In the fourth quarter.

Richard Eastman

Yes, in Q4. Okay. And then just a question around maybe the balance that you saw in your go-to-market? So, for all of 2020, can you just kind of tell us how the direct business did relative to the channel? I'm just thinking, sales growth or decline?

Anders Gustafsson

Yes, I can start and then Joe can provide some additional color also. Our direct business obviously did very well, because we had a strong, large deal activity, but also a lot of the larger customers that we worked with we have been supporting through channel partners. So our channels centricity, so that's how much of our revenues go through channel partners was actually, I think, an all-time high in Q3 or Q4.

So we have maintained a high degree of channels centricity in the business. Joe?

Joe Heel

Exactly. I mean, our strategy has been and will be to be a channel-first, go-to-market approach. And I think that's paid off very well for us here in the pandemic, because those strong relationships with our partners have been instrumental in helping us recover faster, and we're seeing that in particular, in the run rate, but as Andrew said, large, if you recall the contribution that large deals made to our second half in particular, it's remarkable that channels centricity percentage business going through the channel has expanded in light of that, right. And that's part of our strategy.

Richard Eastman

Well, when you speak to, some of the smaller and medium customers, is that visibility coming through from the VARs? I mean, again, we speak about the channel, but we obviously put distribution in there versus the VARs. And I guess my question is, what's the visibility on the VARs and the smaller and medium sized customers rebounding in 2021? Do you have that visibility either in orders, or is it kind of front log and conversation with VARs or…

Anders Gustafsson

Well, so we rarely have visibility to specific individualized orders and small and medium businesses, right.

Richard Eastman

Yes.

Anders Gustafsson

We have the distribution channel in between. But what we know is that our distributors have a very strong outlook for the upcoming quarters, at least and are ordering strongly with us, as we indicated, our order volumes have been strong. And that's, I think, a reflection of that optimism that our distributors are feeling in particular also from SMB customer.

Richard Eastman

I see. So when you when you look into 2021, I'm really, really trying to get at is obviously the gross profit margin assumption, as Nate pointed out, is higher than 2021? And is the mix of end customers there from small to medium? Obviously, you mentioned large orders in the back half of the year, you're a little cautious there. But is that mix supporting that upward migration in the gross margin when you think about 2021?

Nathan Winters

Yes. We expect to have a more traditional mix of business in 2021, than we had in 2020, where, for Q2, and Q3, particularly, large deals were kind of over represented. And as Joe said, our visibility around individual, smaller deals are not great, but our channel account managers do meet with our channel partners and work on forecasts and looking at specific deals, and what support they need from us, and so forth.

So we do have some level of visibility. But obviously, the further out in time you go, the less clear that visibility is.

Richard Eastman

Yes, I understand it. Just staying on this gross margin for one more second. From a pricing perspective, what's the assumption going into 2021? Are we able to capture enough price to recover some of the COGS inflation that we're seeing in the business? I mean, it would appear so. But is there any price increase and net price increase that you might expect? Or is it mainly, kind of net pricing?

Nathan Winters

So maybe first, when you talk about quality increases is that the freight charges you are referring to?

Richard Eastman

Yes, so there’s freight charges, and just, any other cost inflation in the supply chain, in your supply chain?

Nathan Winters

Yes, I think, we don't we don't modify our pricing based on what we believe to be a temporary cost inflation, for freight. But we do have a lot of analytics and thoughts around our overall price points, and where the market is. And we do always strive to get a premium for our brand. So, pricing and margins is obviously a very strong focus that we have across the company. But we haven't necessarily gone and changed our price list because of this. Joe do you want to add anything to that?

Richard Eastman

Okay.

Joe Heel

Well, yes, maybe another way to think about this is if you looked back at 2020, the mix of our business in terms of small versus large, was skewed towards the large, right, because as you said, there’s small gap. So there was a pause in purchasing from the small that we zoom towards the end. But in in the long-term analysis, small was down relative to the long-term average.

In 2021, we expect that that mix will return closer to normal and therefore, simply because of the mix effects, we think that the average price points would normalize as well as a result of that, right. That has an effect.

Richard Eastman

Okay, that's my answer. Okay. Excellent. Thank you.

Operator

Next question is from Keith Housum of Northcoast Research. Please go ahead.

Keith Housum

Good morning, gentlemen. And congratulations on a good quarter and good guidance. Just trying to unpack that printer growth a little bit more, can help me understand in terms of that growth is a substantial product growth being driven by not only the SMBs, but also growth in the supply business as well?

Joe Heel

Yes, we had obviously, great growth in both printing and supplies. Both printing and supplies were up double digits in the quarter. Our printing business is up across the portfolio, we did, I think, benefit from some pent-up demand, particularly in EMEA. Remember, EMEA also was hit harder early on in the pandemic, so there was probably a bit more of a rebound we had there. I'd also say, though, that we have early in 2020, we took a number of actions to strengthen our go-to-market and strengthen our channel ecosystem, particularly around printing. And I think that is now bearing fruit for us or so. So we are more competitive. And that's helping to accelerate our share gains in printing specifically.

But we did see our business through our smaller business, small and midsize business recover quite nicely, it recovered faster than we had expected. I think it's fair to say, in Q4, manufacturing has been a relatively light, vertical, we have a strong vertical for printing generally, but lighter over last year. But that was also coming back and strengthening. And RFID was actually a very strong quarter for printing. I think it was a record quarter for print RFID.

And then on supplies, we did see strong performance in supplies, particularly North America. And Temptime, also has a strong fourth quarter.

Overall, though, I'd say that we have a very strong portfolio of smart and connected printers that have an unrivalled manageability throughout your Link-OS operating system, and that is a true differentiator in the market.

Keith Housum

Okay, appreciate. And just as a follow-up, I think, a comment made earlier during the Q&A. And I think the commentary was that the U.S. Postal Service will contribute about 1% growth for the year, with most of that coming in the first half. I also heard you guys say that it's going to be only very modest for the first quarter. So that could imply if my math is right, that you guys could have a $400 million contribution in the second quarter from the U.S. Postal Service. Is that right? And does that include, I guess, ancillary projects, as well as, the main $3,000 devices being fulfilled?

Nathan Winters

So if you look at the USPS for the year, and regarding the size of the rollout, I think, if you look at the 300,000 printers and what we expect to deliver, throughout 2021, I think, you can – you really do the implication of we're selling about two million mobile computers annually, and that can help you infer in terms of an average price range. I think the number you have for Q2 is a little bit higher than what we would anticipate in terms of the full year implied guide.

Keith Housum

All right, thank you.

Anders Gustafsson

Yes. Yes, remember, we've talked about earlier, the total volume of mobile computers for USPS, this contract is about 300,000 over two years.

Nathan Winters

Yes, just doing the math there, minus $400 million roughly, I understand it might be a little bit high, seems a little bit more than a lot less, we're assuming for the entire value of the contract. And we realize you guys fulfil some last year as well as we go fulfil this year. So, it seems again, perhaps higher than lot of us were assuming.

Anders Gustafsson

Yes, as you said, I think, the best way for you to think about USPS this year is to the 1% of our growth in 2021 is coming from growth of our USPS business. And, I would say Q2 is the only quarter, but Q1 we will start ramping up in the towards the end of Q1, but Q2, Q3 will certainly be part of it.

Keith Housum

It's 1% of your growth, not 1% of business.

Nathan Winters

You are right.

Keith Housum

Okay got it.

Anders Gustafsson

Yes, 1% of our growth, yes.

Keith Housum

Okay, thank you.

Operator

The next question is from Blake Gendron of Wolfe Research. Please go ahead

Blake Gendron

Yes, thanks. Good morning. I want to follow-up there with some of the growth commentary. So [indiscernible] dollar impact from what you would consider pent-up demand to be greater or less than 4Q? And do you expect some pent-up demand fall through into the second quarter? And I guess longer term, I mean, are we going to see this pent-up demand idiosyncrasy show up in subsequent years just based on the replacement cycle? Or is it going to normalize fairly quickly as we recover here on the pandemic?

Anders Gustafsson

Well, the pent-up demand concept is a little hard to get – be overly specific about the impact of it, but I’d say that starting with our products and solutions and mission critical for our enterprise customers. And they need that to compete effectively in an on-demand economy. The sales to our larger companies, larger customers that we had talked about in earlier question, remained strong. And they have prioritized spend with us to better position themselves to address the newer automation and digitization trends like omnichannel as an example. And that’s our larger customers were better positioned to pivot their businesses early in the pandemic align with how consumers wanted to behave, how the economist was working at that point, while smaller customers had to kind of pause spending, or certainly cut back on it.

But I think now we see this smaller companies coming back, and other customers also realizing that they need to invest in order to compete, competing in the same way they did prior to COVID is not necessarily going to be a successful formula. And I think that part of this is also that we have been able to execute very well during the pandemic and we've been able to gain share. Our supply chain has shown great agility to be able to respond to customers that quickly want to ramp up their order volumes. And I think we were able to do that well and see some opportunities that way.

So, we have been realizing some good demand from this pent-up demand, you can say, which helped us in Q4 and I expect it to help us in Q1 here also. But more broadly though, as we look forward, we are very excited about the business overall and the growth prospects that we have, not just in Q4, Q1 but longer term based on our ability to help our customers digitize and automate their businesses.

Joe Heel

And boy I just had this statement, obviously as Anders mentioned it’s a tough one to quantify. If you look at our Q1 guide, we kind of think of the pent-up demand is likely contributing low double-digit growth. On top of mid-teen growth, from what you can say is our normal growth rates, the impact of acquisitions’ effects, as well as cycling from a comp perspective versus last year where we had – we started to feel the impacts of COVID late in Q1 last year.

Blake Gendron

Yes, that's helpful. I understand it's tough to quantify and disaggregate everything. But the longer-term growth outlook is kind of what I was getting at and that's constructive. My follow-up is on EVM, I'm just wondering, over the last, call it 12 months, or through the pandemic, what the growth of existing customers is with EVM versus, new customer wins? How you see that evolving? I guess you are over 2021 and beyond, and is there any major margin difference between one or the other, or should we think about EVM of along the same lines and delineate large versus small customers in terms of margin difference?

Anders Gustafsson

I start by saying, new customers, if you're looking for kind of brand-new customers that haven't done any business with us, it's rare that we have those because most companies are doing some level of business with us. So, it's probably more that we have, new awards or new use cases with those customers. Again, it's – we can only – we really only have visibility into that for our larger customers. And I think we've had a good, healthy, clip of new customers. And I expect that we will continue to add new use cases, and new applications.

If you look at our portfolio of solutions, we've invested meaningfully to ensure we can expand the number of use cases that help address our customers more most pressing problems. So, we feel good about our competitive positioning and our ability to win some of these new use cases. They may not necessarily be brand new customers, but they are brand new use cases.

Joe, I don’t know if you have any comments.

Joe Heel

Yes, I mean, I would add, I mean, to your point about is there are big margin difference between the two I would say not noticeably the new customers that we are able to acquire, so ones that were previously competitor customers. There have been meaningful ones of course, right. I mean, USPS is one example of those that did less in the last 12 months. But they do range from the small to the large, and therefore, I would expect without having done the analysis that there isn't a meaningful margin difference between the two.

Blake Gendron

That's very helpful. One more if I could sneak it in here, balance sheet is in great shape. Wonder if you could just level set the capital allocation thoughts here and maybe update us on the M&A pipeline?

Nathan Winters

Yes, I'll start, we ended the year at 1.2 times net-debt-to-adjusted-EBITDA, which is below our 2.5 target maximum. Our priority remains organic and inorganic investment in the business. And we're excited about the opportunities we see in both of those areas. We do have our share repurchase, and believe that's a flexible way to return capital. And we'll remain opportunistic in that approach, which is evidenced by our $200 million we purchased in 2020 and we'll continue that into this year.

Anders Gustafsson

On M&A, we're certainly very excited about the outlook for business and M&A is, we think of it as a growth vector for the business. We think of M&A as a way for us to accelerate the execution on our Enterprise Asset Intelligence vision. So, it's not a standalone growth driver, it is something that we think about how in a way for us to accelerate the execution on our vision.

We are targeting I’d say select bolt-on acquisitions, as well as, higher growth acquisitions that can truly help move our Enterprise Asset Intelligence vision forward. We see good opportunities in digitizing, and automating supply chains and different workflows. As Nate talked about, we have a strong balance sheet that can support that.

Blake Gendron

Really appreciate the time. Thank you.

Operator

This concludes our question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to Mr. Gustafsson for closing remarks.

Anders Gustafsson

Yes, to wrap up, I would like to thank our employees and partners for our exceptional Q4 results in a strong start to 2021. As we continue to navigate the pandemic, our top priority continues to be protecting the health and well-being of our employees, partners and customers. So stay safe everyone.

End of Q&A

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