Fifty years of innovation: Gfu celebrates milestone anniversary

Exactly 50 years ago on June 6, 1973, gfu Consumer & Home Electronics GmbH was founded by eleven leading companies in the consumer electronics sector

Since its inception, gfu has played a vital role in shaping and advancing the “International Broadcasting Exhibition” which has grown to become IFA, the world’s most significant trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances. Let’s take the opportunity today to look back at gfu’s – and IFA’s – long and exciting history…

IFA has established itself as the most important order fair for the consumer electronics and home appliance industries.

Over the years, it has become the platform for global product debuts, showcasing the latest technologies and innovations. With thousands of media representatives from around the world, IFA generates unparalleled exposure and serves as a hub for industry professionals, retailers, consumers, and the media to connect and explore the future of technology.

Key Milestones

Throughout the years, IFA has evolved to adapt to the dynamic changes in the market. In 2003, the fair’s duration was shortened to six days to ensure efficiency in the event. In 2006, IFA transitioned from a biennial to an annual cycle to match the rapid pace of innovation in the consumer electronics industry.

In 2008, IFA achieved a significant milestone by expanding its scope to include electrical household appliances. This convergence of consumer electronics and home appliances under one roof has created a unique platform for the industry. In the same year, EK Retail joined as a strategic retail partner, further strengthening the cooperation with leading specialist retail cooperations.

The introduction of IFA TecWatch in 2009 provided a dedicated space for research and development, showcasing cutting-edge advancements in technology. The following years witnessed various developments, including the integration of ElectronicPartner’s autumn fair into IFA, the introduction of the IFA+ Summit congress, and the launch of the Smart Home section. IFA continued to innovate and adapt to industry trends, expanding its exhibition areas and introducing new concepts such as IFA Next and Shift Automotive.

In 2010, IFA celebrated an important anniversary, taking place for the 50th time – and thus representing a long trade show tradition that is unique in the whole world. The fair started in 1924 as the “Great German Radio Exhibition”, and six years later none other than Albert Einstein gave the opening speech.

In 2020, the company faced unprecedented challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but adapted to the situation through a reduced format “Special Edition”. In 2022, it made a strong comeback, reaffirming its position as a top global event for the consumer and home electronics industry. Exhibitors, retailers, media, and consumers eagerly reconnected face-to-face, signaling the resilience and importance of IFA in the industry.

An exciting new chapter begins

To further drive innovation and provide enhanced experiences, the newly established IFA Management GmbH, a joint venture between gfu Consumer & Home Electronics GmbH and Clarion Events Ltd, has taken charge of organising IFA in Berlin since November 2022. The new organisation aims to expand digital offerings and the IFA NEXT brand, opening doors for startups and innovative product launches. With a focus on creating incentives for trade visitors, sponsors, exhibitors, and the general public, IFA Management GmbH aims to build on the successful concept of IFA and ensure its continued relevance as an optimal international platform for the industry.

“The successful concept of the IFA is the excellent basis for sustainable business success for industry and trade. Accordingly, the consistent further development of IFA is and remains the most important mission of gfu in order to offer the entire industry an optimal international platform. In addition, gfu will continue to be successfully involved in the positive development of the sectors,” states Dr Sara Warneke, Managing Director of gfu.

Read more news from IFA Berlin here.

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