IFA Berlin 2023 closed on September 5th. The annual technology event is a go to not only for seeing the latest gadgets but also for tech trends. The 99th edition shook off the post Covid malaise from the previous year. 130,000 square meters were sold out with brands and companies from around the world. Since 1924 IFA has been about the latest consumer devices.
This time around, the word “innovation” came across as diluted. Nothing on display in the 26 halls felt as a “must have” product or service. Instead, there were improvements and new features added to appliances, cameras inside of ovens, apps for operating washing machines, lights on vacuums,
while not Earth shattering, connivence comes to mind.
I missed the memo on these: Robot cleaners, solar panels and batteries were front and center. It’s startling the number of companies producing the same products. Some displayed side by side.
Many big consumer electronic names were missing this year the attention turned to lesser known if not obscure labels. A big takeaway from this IFA, Chinese OEM’s on a mission to becoming brands. In the past they were regulated to just making products, no longer, brand building is on the agenda at lower prices with products ranging from headphones to washing machines.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Many top brands at IFA had to have felt being the Belle of the Ball. It is one thing to copy but a level of disrespect to come to a hall with power point list and brazenly check over a product, even using a tape measure. Even placing a head and camera in an oven to make video of the interior. Maybe it is time for a professional code of conduct at trade fairs.Intellectual Property means nothing in some regions but for companies spending on research and development and IP is a valued asset.
I had the feeling “App overkill” is a reality for household appliances. Some features I found useless. Do consumers really need a control to operate an appliance while driving to work?
Brands have decided to champion sustainability by making some parts available to third parties for repair. Consumers grown used to a disposable technology may not be ready to wait for a repair man. Extending device life cycles was an interesting if not, contradictory topic. Technology sales are based on volume for profitability. How can companies marry less consumption with high sales?
IFA 2023 showed a consumer goods world in flux. Technology has winners and losers. Picking the winning side has gotten harder.