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IFA: Co-innovation the way forward for consumer technology brands to grow

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The Active Age attended the IFA Global Press Conference 2019 and learnt about co-innovation – how brands can develop products that are informed by their customers’ lifestyle choices.

GfK shares about global technology trends

Innovation in technology continue to drive global demand for consumer technology goods to the tune of 1, 052Bn euros. Asia spends about 440BN euros on consumer technology goods. These goods include smartphones, IT, TV, audio devices, and home appliances. Smartphones made up 65% of that figure, followed by computing and TV categories at 18% each.



Customers seem to be willing to pay a premium price for new models and products they deem innovative. A GfK market study found that prices today have increased nearly 60% in China and Europe when compared to pricing (in the same consumer technology category) in 2009. For example, in Europe, the average price of a smart phone was 154 euros in 2010. In 2018, that price point has doubled to 363 euros.

Consumer-led co-innovation

Customers are driving demand for new products globally. With consumer electronics, mobile and IT products, over 75% of purchases are of products that were launched less than 2 years old. Domestic (home) appliances have a longer life cycle and GfK observes that nearly half of the customers in the research are using products older than 2 years.

IHS Markit is looking to video, music and games to ease customers into the upcoming 5G era. Social media networks are increasingly using video as an anchor to attract more users. Game companies are moving towards providing high quality content that can be played on both the big screen, as well as the mobile phone.

The digital assistant category has also grown due to customer demand for more specific types of help required. Digital assistants are broadly segmented into device assistants (Samsung Bixby, Apple Siri), Home assistants (Amazon Alexa), Personal assistants (Microsoft Cortona, Google Assistant) and Service Assistants (Aura, Djingo).


The connected customer

According to a GfK market survey, customers feel more in control of their purchase decisions and feel empowered to demand speed and efficiency from the brands they shop with.


There are five key themes shaping this demand globally – performance delivered by high end features, simplification shared by connecting devices, premium products that are both practical and aspirational, “everytime and everywhere” mobile shopping experiences and developing economies that are driving demand.

Brands are focusing on innovation in areas such as performance, simplification and moving customers towards more premium features in order to match what customers are looking for (and willing to pay for).

One space customers have changed is the smart home. GfK argues that the smart home will happen and the clear step is how to remove barriers to adoption. Many homes are already “smart”, with customers using devices for specific uses, for example a smart TV and an internet connection helps us stream Netflix.

In 2019 we will see more of these devices connecting with one another to offer a rich experience environment. Communications among appliances will be the next milestone for customers alongside optimising energy use, and remote home monitoring. While customers look forward to Smart Entertainment, GfK observes fast growth in smart appliances and smart lighting.


A GfK study find that customers expect smart and connected solutions to turn their homes into a more secure, health-aligned, efficient and more automated place. Young families with children and the youth were among respondents that indicated strong support for the concept of the smart home.

*All data points and slides were shared by GfK and IHS Markit at the IFA Global Press Conference event.

IFA, Partner of the Future since 1924

IFA Berlin 2019 will be held in Berlin, Germany from 6 – 11 September, 2019.


The 2019 edition will cover best of class products in consumer electronics over various categories such as domestic appliances, television, speakers and smart devices. There will be focus on connectivity, artificial intelligence, voice control and 5G as the key trends to understand.

The event will be spread out across various sites, each with their own theme and programmes. At these sites, there will be keynotes by speakers about trends, data and insights about the state and growth of the consumer electronics industry.



On what to expect at IFA Berlin 2019, Messe Berlin CEO Dr Christian Göke said: “Tomorrow’s Smart Homes are being innovated today by companies from the consumer electronics sector, health and wellness, white goods and many more … and the only place where you can see them all come together is IFA Berlin.”

IFA Next – now in its third year – will continue to showcase new innovations created and powered by start-ups. Japan – as a country – will be the first IFA NEXT Global Innovation Partner. Japan will showcase innovations, products and R&D concepts from the country at the event. These companies will be curated and focus on a theme “interface of tomorrow” and speak about how humans can interact with machines in a natural, comfortable manner. Taking place in Hall 26, this event will be separate from the main exhibition.



On partnering with Japan for IFA Next, Dr. Göke said: “We partner(ed) with Japan because we want to give our visitors a deep dive into a highly innovative industry hub, including entrepreneurs and visionary speakers, and a start-up world like never before.”

Shift AUTOMOTIVE, a 2-day event, had a successful first year in 2018. In 2019, the event will showcase the latest in automotive technology and display new products about future mobility. Fujitsu and SMART are to be partners for this event and will share about how quantum computing will improve our mobility experience; while SMART will share ready services that expand urban mobility. Shift AUTOMOTIVE takes place on 10 – 11 September 2019 at IFA Berlin 2019.

On what SMART will be showcasing at Shift AUTOMOTIVE, Kirsten Ehrlich, Head of SMART Sales Germany said: “… we also present our innovative “ready to services” that significantly expand urban mobility – for example, you can easily share your own vehicle with others or have your packages delivered to your own vehicle instead of home.”
More information can be found, and registration can be done at their website, at

Here are some highlights shared by the various brands that participated at the IFA global press conference.


Philips shared about their new programme – Philips Sonicare Teledentistry – positioned as a “Dentist to go”. This programme is made up of a few components including remote consultation, personalised feedback and a mobile application that can provide direct, complete and monitoring care content and services. The mobile application – Sonicare app – acts as a hub, pairs with a customer’s toothbrush and can remind them when to replace the toothbrush head. It also generates a progress report that customers can share with their dentists for further dental care help.



TCL Is developing Aixiot – artificial intelligence x internet of things. This is their ecosystem play in moving from being a home appliance company into a technology lifestyle brand. With Aixiot, TCL customers can connect with their home appliances in a manner that is relevant to their lifestyle – from turning on the washing machine to watching shows on their smart TV.


Haier is a global leader in home appliances, and has been doubling their growth over the past years with over 15.4% market share. They have achieved this through organic growth coupled with selective M&A. In January 2019, they acquired Candy Group in Europe to achieve a leading position in Europe across appliance categories such as refrigerators, cooking, washing machines and wine cellars. Other brands owned by Haier include AQUA (Japan), Candy, Casarte, Fisher & Paykel (New Zealand), GE Appliances (USA), Hoover and Leader (PRC).

They will be launching cookers, ovens with food preservation, washing machines and refrigerators at the upcoming September IFA 2019 taking place in Berlin.


Metz, a German consumer electronics brand launched their new Metz Blue brand at IFA 2018. This is an internationalisation strategy employed by Metz and parent company Skyworth to target high growth markets – such as India, South Korea and Hong Kong – to achieve larger market share of Android TVs.


Skyworth is a Chinese company based in Shenzhen with over 40,000 employees and one of the top 5 colour TV brands globally. Android TVs are specifically smart TVs that use the Android operating system (currently Android 8.0) to provide access and show content and entertainment, Google apps and speech control through Google Assistant.



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