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IFA International 2019 Review Edition

  • Text
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  • Berlin
  • Innovation
  • Consumer
  • September
  • Electronics
  • Automotive
  • Global
  • Mobility
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW IFA IS A VERY POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR THE INDUSTRY AND IS THE BEST PLATFORM TO COMMUNICATE ABOUT NEW PRODUCTS AND IDEAS. Jens Heithecker Executive Director, IFA IFA 2019 – INNOVATION SPEAKS FOR ITSELF IFA Executive Director, Jens Heithecker looks back on another successful show As IFA draws to an end, the numbers attest that 2019 was another excellent year, more than a quarter million visitors, and some 4,7 bn euros in orders. We caught up with Jens Heithecker, Executive Director, IFA to find out the whole story behind these figures. When one considers the situations in different markets, IFA 2019 has been an amazing success. Retail structure is changing all over the world, distribution is changing, the industry is in heavy competition and is challenged by different issues. Taking account of all this and then seeing that we had the same number of trade visitors overall, and even more international trade visitors than last year, that means we have brought in people from other industries. This is the proof of an amazing success. Innovation speaks for itself. It is coming in from all different industries and is then combined to create new and different concepts. IFA is a very positive environment for the industry and is the best platform to communicate about new products and ideas. 18 5G was the big thing at the start of the show. Where do you see that going? For me, 5G has the same importance or strength as buzzwords like IoT and AI in previous years. It is an extraordinary new technology that is really arriving on the market – rolling out around the world. We are seeing the arrival of a “pervasive connected world of devices” and the ubiquitous usage of connected solutions by consumers whatever they do. In this sense, we talk about “new mobility”, with devices controlled remotely or even “talking” among themselves, so it appears evident we need new communication technologies. 5G is the standard of the future and that’s why it has been so important this year at IFA, with top level discussions about technical advances and rollout, and getting our first hands-on experience with it. Visitors to IFA have been able to try the new 5G mobile phones, and that’s only the start. 5G will be very important when it comes to new mobility concepts, especially for autonomous cars, because the data exchange will need to be much faster than what had been possible up until now. In other words, it’s not just about faster media downloading. That is of course one of the great advantages for consumers, it’s also about the world of connected devices that will increasingly come into play in the next few years. What has surprised you the most this year? Despite all the new products, despite the success of the keynotes, the IFA+ Summit, SHIFT Automotive, the first-time trade visitors from all around the world, it is about headsets. I was not aware that for the manufacturers of headsets, the new standard usage is not in the airplane, it’s not in the city, it’s not in the train; it is at home. There was already a trend towards different media usage by different members of the family. Now it’s not just separate TVs or other screens, it’s music as well. We live more and more in metropolitan regions, in small apartments in noisy environments and if you want to enjoy music, the new solution might not be a loudspeaker; but headphones. For me it was a revelation. The incredible sound quality and wearing comfort of today’s headphones mean that the standard use has changed

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW 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. 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 THERE HAVE BEEN MORE TRADE VISITORS FROM OUTSIDE GERMANY THAN IN THE PAST; SO IFA IS MORE INTERNATIONAL THAN LAST YEAR. 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 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. 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 Hans-Joachim Kamp Chairman of the supervisory board, gfu Consumer & Home Electronics www.ifa-international.org IFA International • Monday 23 September 2019 19

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