Increasing pressure on margins, growing competition from online retailers, and a stormy global economic climate – these are just some of the challenges faced by manufacturers and retailers. Yet the message from this year’s IFA Global Press Conference, held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, is that innovation and imaginative sales strategies can help bring some much needed value into the market. “The most important objective for our industry is to move from a destruction of values to value orientation,” said Rainer Hecker, chairman of the supervisory board, gfu, the German consumer electronics industry corporation. Hecker noted that innovations like OLED flat displays and more energy efficient products were attracting consumers and adding value.
Christian Göke, chief operating officer of Messe Berlin, IFA’s venue, said that last year’s show was attended by more than 38,500 international trade visitors, adding that he was “optimistic” that this figure would be exceeded this year. He also said that all major brands would be at IFA and that the show was overbooked. Göke also confirmed that an additional hall will be available for 2014. Jürgen Boyny, global director consumer and technology, GfK Retail and Technology, said that the digital world (including consumer electronics), major domestic appliances and small domestic appliances were all showing continuous growth, although most was occurring in emerging markets. He added that there were still big opportunities in the TV market with LED TV, Smart TV and 3DTV. “In 2013, a third of all flat TVs will be 3D and 40% of all flat TVs will have an internet connection,” he said. The big challenge for retailers is the internet, noted Boyny, adding that online shopping accounts for 16% of sales in Europe.
Maarten de Vries CEO of TP Vision, the new TV joint venture between Philips and TPV, said that, “Philips TV is here to stay and to grow,” adding that Philips had strong connections with retailers and consumers. Michael Zoeller, Samsung Europe’s marketing director for TV/AV announced that his company would be launching a large screen OLED TV at IFA, as well as a new high-end TV with a novel design concept.