It’s easy to get lost in the weeds of constantly monitoring and evaluating a business. But sometimes, we need to step back and look at the bigger picture — to take stock of industry trends, present our products to the world, and demonstrate our corporate values. The IFA trade show, held in Berlin every September, presents a valuable opportunity to do these things.
Every year IFA gets better both in terms of story and content. Its growing crowds and increasing popularity position it as a key industry event and equal to the CES trade show in Las Vegas. This year our global brands, Beko & Grundig, contributed to the strong spirit and energy of this important trade show. Here are my key takeaways from IFA 2017.
IFA2017, Messe Berlin
I see four big trends influencing our business and shaping our industry, all of which were clearly visible at IFA:
Diverse living: As consumers seek out quality and exclusivity to achieve a specialized lifestyle, the premium home appliances market is growing.
Sustainable Living: Households are becoming greener and energy efficiency is being adopted largely for cost-saving reasons.
Healthy Living: Consumers are attempting to take charge of their health by making more considered choices. They seek fresh, natural, and minimally processed foods.
Tailored living: Home appliances increasingly provide features with innovations, flexibility, and customized options. New forms of ovens, washing machines and refrigerators are coming to the market.
In line with these trends, this year at IFA2017, we saw more solutions designed to make our lives easier and better. There was a strong focus on the user experience and closer integration of customers and products.
Connected solutions were displayed as a hygiene factor and sensor applications were widely presented in almost all categories. We saw a growing number of smart assistants and smart shopping applications. Almost every brand leveraged the smart home and smart cooking concepts, including ours.
More than ever, it was each company’s hero products and stories that attracted visitors. Displays of products and services were simpler, with more entertainment and social media content that engaged visitors across age and gender.
Companies displayed products that offered unique experiences, focusing on health and wellness. Our products, such as MicroGarden and AromaGarden, in this space also attracted attention.
The prominence of cost-competitive designs and low-cost materials was also noticeable, pointing the way to a more competitive market in coming months. While resource efficiency was one of the most explored topics this year.
Today, our thinking, creating, making and critique revolves around sustainability. You hear that from a variety of businesses, but to us, sustainability is more than a buzzword; it is the philosophy by which we exist as a company.
We advocate sustainability through the persistent and dynamic improvement of our technologies and processes; the principles of sustainability are intrinsic to our products. We care about the preservation of a healthy environment, the future of energy and water, and tackling over-consumption and food waste.
One development I’m particularly excited about is our new washing machines utilizing recycled PET bottle materials. As growing plastic waste is a global issue, we need to make every effort to find effective solutions. By recycling 6.6 million bottles in the first phase of this project, we are reducing carbon dioxide by a total of 885 tonnes a year.
This year we also displayed our new cooling technology Freshmeter. It’s an outstanding innovation allowing consumers to monitor the lifecycle of your fresh meat kept in the refrigerator, which helps avoid food waste.
While sustainability in our operations is critical, getting the message out is also important. IFA2017 provided a great platform to demonstrate how we are reducing negative impacts on society while improving lifestyles and promoting ethical and green consumerism.
Beko, with its strong corporate messages around healthy living and wellness, in partnership with FC Barcelona, proudly launched ‘Eat Like A Pro’ — a global initiative that will help address childhood obesity through the education of parents and children on the importance of healthy eating.
At Grundig, respect for and preservation of natural resources are at the core of our corporate values. We renewed our commitment to raising awareness of global food waste and promoting a ‘Respect Food’ philosophy by hosting a talk featuring Massimo Bottura, world-renowned chef and founder of the ‘Food for Soul’ campaign.
Grundig's Respect Food Initiative
I was pleased to see that these trends are growing in our industry. Many companies delivered stronger social messages and demonstrated their social engagement.
Overall, IFA2017 was our best trade show experience to date, featuring many exciting products and project launches. I was proud of the number of our products described as ‘first’, ‘most’, ‘best’ and ‘only’. These landmark products reflect the achievements and dedication of our people
It’s amazing to see just how much we have matured as a company over the years and how our understanding of our corporate values has allowed us to create better and more meaningful products. For us, this year wasn’t just about the previous year’s achievements; it was about the amazing, cumulative success of our brands.