The IFA opening press conference hails the return of personal interaction, collaboration and co-innovation
The tone of the IFA opening press conference on Wednesday was positive and optimistic, with a sense of joy and gratitude that the event could finally take place again in person, after the disruption caused by the pandemic.
“This trade fair serves a fundamental human need for first-hand experiences,” said Martin Ecknig, CEO, Messe Berlin, addressing the packed conference area. “We are here to reconnect, to interact, to collaborate and to co-innovate. We will define the future of technology. What you see at IFA 2022 will shape our world for the time after the pandemic,” he added, before highlighting some other key moments in the event’s history – Albert Einstein speaking here in 1930 and the IFA debuts of colour TVs and digital music in the 1960s and 1990s respectively.
Opening the event, Dr Sara Warneke, MD, gfu, demonstrated how the last two years have seen a “pandemic-related boom accompanied by exceptional growth.” She continued: “Consumers were more oriented towards their homes, with ‘stay at home’ being the catchphrase. For our industry, comparing 2019 with 2021 we see a growth of 17%. Entertainment, the technical possibilities of working and learning at home, as well as devices for cooking and baking were particularly highly in demand.”
Dr Warneke advised that, while this growth phase was over and global markets are normalising or decelerating across all industries, there are signs that household appliance sales have the potential for continued growth as consumers look for products with increased energy efficiency, longevity and smart connectivity in response to rising energy costs and growing eco-consciousness.
The come-back of the world’s leading fair for consumer and home electronics offers another essential growth impulse: “IFA – the world’s most important trade show for consumer and home electronics – will make its contribution to a successful year-end spurt,” she concluded, adding that the FIFA World Cup taking place in the winter would be likely to further boost TV and home entertainment sales for the year-end season.
Both Dr Warneke and Martin Ecknig referred to the issues facing the global industry – the Ukraine conflict, supply-chain issues, rising inflation and continuing pandemic-related travel restrictions – and how these are affecting consumer confidence. As a result, de-globalisation joins sustainability as a prominent and urgent topic of conversation at IFA 2022. On the perennial subject of the Smart Home, Dr Warneke added: “Energy saving is a very important issue that will accompany us during the winter and into the future, so the adoption of Smart Home should finally be accelerated.”