IFA Says Consumers Willing to Buy

IFA kicks off with a press event (although to try to get them all in, several are held before this one!). The format is much the same each year, so we’ve cut our report a bit shorter this time! IFA is 90 years old today, having started in 1924. There have been huge developments from radio through TV to the digital world.
Hans-Joachim Kamp, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the organisers of IFA, gfu – Gesellschaft für Unterhaltungs- und Kommunikationselektronik said that there had been a 6% growth in global electronics. However, in 2014 there is a drop of 3% in Western Europe, and more in Eastern Europe, but a 1% growth in MEA.
Smartphones and tablets are still growing and internet connectivity has become ubiquitous. Looking at the biggest CE market, TV has been in a pricing race to the bottom – Western Europe has dropped from the second biggest market to the fourth, globally.
There is hardly a CE device that doesn’t have connectivity and this year there will be domestic appliances that talk to the net, Kamp claimed.
New UltraHD TVs and curved TVs will be seen. Audio is benefiting from streaming with multiroom systems becoming important. Wearables will become important.
Kamp showed an interesting chart on consumers’ willingness to buy, which showed that there is still interest in buying new TVs. The reasons given were by 66% that wanted Smart TV, 65% desired higher resolution and 71% are looking for a bigger screen. 66% of the market is still in sets up to 47″.
IFA has a new conference this year the “IFA+ Summit” on the 8th and 9th. UltraHD is a hot topic at the show, with presentations and he mentioned the UltraHD logo that has been released by Digital Europe (we broke the story last week).
Dr Rainer Zinkann then talked about household appliances. Looking at energy efficiency, the power used by appliances has dropped by half over the last 10 years. A third of products on the market have the top rating for efficiency and there is room for longer term development in power saving standards. Smart household appliances are appearing on the market and there is a real demand for more control. However, interoperabilty is and will continue to be a real challenge and that remains a barrier to be overcome. Connectivity will really be the interesting topic in appliances at this year’s event.
The global market for appliances grew by 3% last year although in much of the world, there is not a lot of growth in appliances. However, there is some positive market action in North America, and there is some recovery in Europe. European buyers like good quality products (as Chinese buyers do). Small appliances are growing in value in local currencies, but in constant currency the news is not so good.
Chief Executive Officer of Messe Berlin, Dr. Christian Göke, talked about the history of IFA and he highlighted the 1991 show, the first after the Berlin wall came down as those from the East saw really great new products. However, Goke said that 1961 was the key year for him. That was when the wall was put in place, just 10 days before the start of IFA. 1961 was the first year that IFA returned to Berlin since 1945 (although it started in Berlin, after 1945, the show moved around Germany). Despite the blockade, the organisers went ahead and asked for the support of brands, who gave their support and the show went ahead.
Göke said that IFA is now (arguably) the key consumer event in the world (although CES might argue – Man. Ed). In the last few years, IFA has become more international, with 67% more international media in 2013 than in 2008 and 107% boost over the same period in international trade visitors.
This year there is the new CityCube which adds 3% to space at 149,500 m² of rented space. Samsung will have the CityCube as its main location. Sony has moved to take Hall 20, which Samsung had previously occupied. Samsung, Arcelik (Beko & Grundig) and Intel will supply the main keynotes and Matt Rogers of Nest Labs (now part of Google) will talk about the conscious home. The Sennheiser brothers will talk about wireless audio.

Display Monitor Comment

The big physical development at the show was the CityCube, which is a very impressive exhibition area. However, the lower floor for conferences, I found oppressive and grim! Apparently, the architect has a love of stained concrete and no concept of design for acoustics! (BR)