MORE INTERNATIONAL THAN EVER

Hans-Joachim Kamp, Chairman of the supervisory board, gfu Consumer & Home Electronics, looks back at this year’s show

Hans-Joachim Kamp, Chairman of the supervisory board of gfu Consumer & Home Electronics (organisers of IFA), says this year’s event has achieved all its goals and more. We asked him to explain.

We have three target groups. The first is the press, meaning if we have more press releases coming out than in the past, it has a positive impact on the buying processes of the consumers. If the consumer reads about new devices and new models, about smart home and so on, this has a positive impact on his buying decisions. The second is the trade. Not only the trade here in Germany but the international trade, and there have been more trade visitors from outside Germany than in the past; so IFA is more international than last year. Walking around the halls and looking at the international dealer area, it was more crowded than the previous years, and this has also been underpinned by figures from Messe Berlin. And the third target group is that of the consumers; the avant-gardists. It’s good for the manufacturers to obtain detailed feedback from the consumers who are interested in these products. Is it well-designed? Is it easy to operate? These are important questions that can be answered by watching how the public reacts to them.

THERE HAVE BEEN MORE TRADE VISITORS FROM OUTSIDE GERMANY THAN IN THE PAST; SO IFA IS MORE INTERNATIONAL THAN LAST YEAR.

It has been said that there is a swing back towards bricks and mortar retail to a certain extent. What are your thoughts on this?

I always say that seeing is believing, and hearing is believing. If you look at online business, then online is an important part of the business, but the phenomenon that has been taking place in Germany for the first seven months of this year is that online business turnover was 2.5% lower than one year ago. There are consumers that are pure online buyers, but it’s only a 21% to 22% share of the entire business. If you want to be successful in this business then you have to have a multichannel strategy. That is an absolute must.

We have seen a number of major announcements this year concerning mobile products. More than in previous years. Why do you think this trend is happening?

Major companies have been deciding upon the best time and place to demonstrate their latest innovations and products to the world. IFA is the best place in the world for this, and there are a number of reasons for that. It takes place at the beginning of September, and in the last three months, more than 30% of the year’s business is done, so the retail buyers make their decisions here for the end of the year. The industry is evolving, introducing more and more models in the second half of the year. A key reason for this is that when you introduce a new model, for the first three to six months, the price will remain stable. After that, the price will decrease. In other words, in the first six months after the introduction of a new product line or innovation, it’s possible to get a better margin, so it makes more sense to introduce products in the second half of the year, given that as sales enter the peak season, there will still be good margins on them.



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