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Live from the IFA Opening Press Conference

The global consumer electronics tradeshow, IFA, is opening this week in Berlin. During the first press day, the IFA leadership team presented their forecast for the industry, what to look for in this year’s show and what might be happening with IFA in the future.

Dr. Sarah Warneke, managing director of GFU, spoke first on how the industry is faring in comparison to previous years. According to Warneke, the global market for technical consumer goods amounted to $1.2 trillion in 2018. In 2020, the effects of the pandemic caused the market to grow significantly.

“If we compare 2019 and 2021, we even see a growth of 17 percent,” said Warneke. “This is because of increased entertainment, the technical possibilities of working and learning at home as well as devices for cooking and baking that were high in demand. People invested money in consumer electronics and communication devices, IT products and new kitchen household appliances. In 2021, all the regions of the world had positive growth in consumer electronics.”

However, consumer confidence is in decline across the globe. Because of impeding factors – including the Russian invasion, inflation and the continued effects of Covid 19 and disruptions to the supply chain. Despite this decline, current sales of consumer electronics are still above 2019 levels. Warneke also feels that the industry will still grow positively because of the popularity and potential savings of smart appliances and smart home products, as well as continued work-from-home lifestyles and the upcoming World Cup, which takes place in the winter this year.

“IFA, the world’s most important trade show for consumer and home electronics will make its contribution to a successful year and finish strong,” said Warneke. “I’m absolutely sure you will be inspired by all the innovations and products presented here.”

“We all lived through extraordinary years,” said Martin Ecknig, CEO of Messe Berlin. “Consumer electronics is back again, defining the world of technology. IFA 2022 will shape our everyday world for our time after the pandemic and be a trend setter for the industry.”

The press chimed in after the main speeches with several pertinent questions for the industry leaders.

Will Matter accelerate smart home connectivity?

Sarah Warneke: The topic of smart home has always been connected to energy efficiency. We feel we are getting somewhere finally. It has been a topic the last 20 years, but energy saving is a very important issues that will accompany us into the future. These topics will still remain and we need to hammer them. It is going to be accelerated and will take off now.

What would you say the biggest challenges the industry faces for 2023?

Warneke: One big point is still inflation and the disruption of supply chains. It’s important to the industry that these are mitigated and hopefully things will go back to normal levels which have come together.

What major sensations in the world of CE await us at the expo?        

Kai Mangelberger: Energy saving is one big topic. Smart home combines wit this topic. For me personally, it is indoor gardening, because I’m also part of another trade show. For me, that’s very interesting