The head of the trade association running IFA gives his preview of this year’s show

At this year’s opening IFA media event, Hans-Joachim Kamp, Chairman of the supervisory board of gfu Consumer & Home Electronics (organisers of IFA), outlined key factors driving the market. We spoke to him afterwards about what he sees as being the key trends this year.

The consumer electronics and home appliance industries are increasingly focusing on connectivity. More and more products use artificial intelligence, which enables them to improve their performance over time. In addition, voice controlled systems upgrade the devices’ skills and expand their possible use cases. Overall at IFA, voice recognition, artificial intelligence, improved picture quality, comfort and sustainability are big trends. Many exhibitors are envisioning their booths with ‘emotion’ in mind, in order to enable visitors to experience the “complete world” of their brands.

What are the biggest challenges for retailers at the moment?

In my opinion, there are three big challenges: The erosion of prices is the most challenging factor for the industry and the retailers. The share of online sales will continue to increase around the globe; and promotions like “Black Friday” are gaining more and more importance in the markets. Nevertheless, approximately 75% of sales are still earnt with stationary retail. So as a matter of fact, every dealer needs a tailor-made multichannel strategy.

What makes IFA different compared to other events of its kind?

There is no other event comparable to what I like to call IFA’s DNA, through which industry, trade, media and customers meet and experience innovation. No other event is organised in such a professional and perfect way. Distances are short, with the whole exhibition for retail trade concentrated at only one place, located in the heart of Europe. These are key conditions for doing successful business. Last but not least, IFA takes place at the right time – just before the start of holiday season, which is still the most important time for industry and trade during the whole year.

Photo: Hans-Joachim Kamp Chairman of the supervisory board of gfu Consumers & Home Electronics