Virtual Reality? Real Growth!

IFA trends and innovations 2016

What are the key trends in terms of exhibitors this year at the world’s greatest CE/HA show? We put the question to IFA Executive Director Jens Heithecker…

We more or less follow the market trends of course. That means for IFA, rst of all it is very important to cover the latest product releases for the next season. That’s important for the retailers, it’s important for the industry, it’s important for the consumers. It’s the news about what they can buy in the next season. Then there are “trending” kinds of products, such as wearable devices for fitness activities and health monitoring. This is a growing area, but more important is the fact that after talking about the “smart home” for which, over such a long time, we explained what this would eventually bring to consumers. This year, for the first time, we actually have an exhibition area of 3,000 square metres only for exhibitors with real products for the smart home. Now we go into the markets with the real products for consumers, and we are happy after long years that now, companies are able to not only show such products, but to also commercialise them. It’s no longer just a technology concept. The other “big thing” this year is Virtual Reality, and at IFA this year we have a special hall dedicated to VR devices. The main manufacturers will demonstrate what these products will really mean for consumers in the coming months and years. Then of course there are the drones. At the moment, there is a big trend in these devices not just for private usage, but also for business usage and professional photographers and video specialists. The range of products continues to grow, and that will be re ected at IFA as well.

In terms of the geographic redistribute of production, we are also seeing China becoming more important year by year. How so?

Yes, in two ways. Firstly, the Chinese brand manufacturers are growing in importance and booth and presentation size at IFA… coming up with new global products. Secondly, the number of smaller Chinese companies attending, we are seeing another increase this year, and we really feel that our relationships with the Chinese market players are closer than ever before. I am not talking only about the manufacturers, but also about the retailers. We created – for the CE China show, very important partnerships with retailers like Suning and Gome and T-Mall / Alibaba, and thanks to this, many will be coming to IFA with top management for the rst time. It means we have created a new hub – a new connection or bridge-between the Chinese markets and the global IFA.

One of this year’s keynotes is from Dr Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. How is the integration of this kind of technology fitting-in with the more traditional sectors present at IFA?

The topic is becoming more relevant and more important for  the consumer electronics industry as well. The new concept of “mobility” means more than a car with just an engine and gears. There is a relationship, and we can see that. At the moment, we have two challenges. The first is that we have no space for exhibitors from the car industry as it stands. But the second one is, importantly, that IFA is directed to retailers, media and consumers, and at the moment, there is a very different distribution structure when it comes to cars or consumer electronics and home appliances. But that is only applicable today. The future momentum could see retail chains influencing or being involved in the sale of “mobility concepts”, or, in other words, cars. So we are integrating new topics and the trends, such as in the keynote with Dr Zetsche, and I can’t exclude the idea of having the automotive industry integrated into our show some time in the future