Anticipating the Highlights of IFA 2023

The first weekend of September is entirely dedicated to the IFA. A comprehensive overview of this year's electronics fair.

Berlin. The International Funkausstellung (IFA) is just around the corner. From Friday, September 1st to Monday, September 5th, the trade show for entertainment and consumer electronics will once again take place at the exhibition grounds in Berlin – and it's larger than last year.

A total of 2,059 exhibitors from 48 countries await visitors at the electronics fair. In 2022, there were 900 fewer exhibitors, totaling 1,100 from 46 countries. A significant portion of the newly added exhibitors come from Asian countries, which were absent last year due to COVID-19 regulations: "We expect a considerable increase in exhibitors from China this year," says Sara Warneke, Managing Director of IFA's parent company, gfu.

For those who want to test the latest tech trends and gadgets before their official release, the fair is the perfect place: here, you can experiment, touch, and engage in conversations with other tech enthusiasts. Visitors can expect major brands such as Siemens, Mile, Bosch, LG, Samsung, Grundig, Tesla, Hama, Honor, and Panasonic.

IFA Ticket Prices on the Rise

More than 2,000 exhibitors are presenting their electronic highlights in 26 exhibition halls covering 130,000 square meters. Therefore, comfortable footwear is essential, as stated by the new IFA Managing Director, Oliver Merlin, who warns, "The distances are extensive." An estimated 180,000 visitors from 48 countries are expected to attend, surpassing the 161,000 attendees in 2022.

While a day ticket cost €17.50 last year, €13 for students, in 2023, only 5-day tickets are available. These can be purchased online until August 31st for €22.91 (€11.78 for students). On-site, a ticket costs €28.55 or €14.27 for those who wish to attend the IFA for only one day, signifying a significant price increase.

Trends: Sustainability, Premiumization, Brand Engagement

As in 2022, sustainability is a major theme at IFA this year: energy conservation, reducing electronic waste, and circular economy concepts play a significant role at the trade show for entertainment and consumer electronics. Manufacturers will address sustainability, and on Saturday, September 2nd, a Repair Café will be available for attendees to repair electronic devices like mixers or gaming controllers (excluding smartphones), with prior online registration required.

Another trend in the electronics industry that will be highlighted at IFA is the so-called premiumization, as noted by Warneke: "Consumers are increasingly willing to pay higher prices for high-quality products. They recognize added value, and this trend is well-received." Additionally, consumers are significantly focused on personal hygiene products and smartphones due to a concentration on self-care. Brand engagement is also making a comeback.

An extra highlight of this year's IFA is a speech by investor and influencer Diana zur Löwen, who will share her business experience and insights into investing in startups. Furthermore, on the fair's Monday, players from 1. FC Union will attend the electronics fair, available for photos and autographs with visitors. The outdoor area will offer tech enthusiasts an outdoor working space and a food festival with various food trucks for refreshments. A robot DJ will set the evening mood. Simultaneously, the Berlin Tech-Week will take place during the first week of September, offering various programs at different venues, especially in the evenings.

IFA's Evolution Over Time

The IFA in Berlin has a nearly century-old history. In 1924, the world's largest trade fair for consumer electronics and household appliances, known as the "Great German Radio Exhibition," took place for the first time. In 1930, Nobel laureate and physicist Albert Einstein inaugurated the fair, with his speech broadcast on the radio. However, the fate of this prestigious event in Berlin had been uncertain lately.

Negotiations between the rights holder gfu, the trade fair organizer Clarion, and the Messe Berlin carried a soap opera-like drama. The continued presence of IFA in the capital was once in jeopardy. During the negotiations, which also involved former Messe Berlin CEO Christian Göke, discord leaked to the public. The gfu threatened to leave Berlin, while the government asserted they wouldn't accept everything. Ultimately, an agreement was reached. The parties decided on a ten-year contract securing the IFA's occurrence in Berlin until 2032.

Messe Berlin had to accept a bitter pill: conceptually and content-wise, gfu and Clarion took the lead, and the fairground is now merely the lessor of the halls. Yet, a small escape clause remained in the contract: after five years, both parties can terminate the collaboration.

Nevertheless, the contract ensures the celebration of the fair's 100-year anniversary, which will take place next year. "100 years of IFA is a gift for us," says Leif Lindner, designated Managing Director responsible for IFA 2024. "We have massive support from the state of Berlin, for which I am very grateful." Planned for the anniversary is a different use of the Summer Garden, a significantly larger Tech-Week, and collaborations with "high-quality partners."


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