IFA 2017 – What Appliances Will We Mostly Look for in the Shops?
The most important trade show of the region IFA 2017 took place in Berlin, Germany, 1–6 September. The exhibition included products that are new to the market as well as categories introduced earlier; all of them being gadgets/devices that we are most likely to be looking for in the shops. After the exhibition, Ignas Rumbutis, Head of Product Department at ACME Europe, shared some insights about the latest technological tendencies.
This year’s exhibition is described by the specialist, Ignas Rumbutis, as one of the most rational in the last five years. “This exhibition was focused more than ever before on end users. Major technology manufacturers and brands have focused entirely on devices that are affordable to the general public and which make daily life easier: wearable electronics, wireless audio technologies, sports accessories, virtual reality devices”, said the Head of Product Development at ACME Europe. He added, “There were almost no expensive or luxurious items designed for specific markets and devices that are hard to adapt to everyday life.”
Ignas Rumbutis emphasised that in the exhibition there were very few brands that have only recently appeared on the market and that have no history. He continued to share his insights: “I think the spotlight and attention were mostly focused on long-term market players such as Philips, Samsung, Sony and Logitech, which concentrated on their most important categories and were able to display their products through the prism of their history and values”.
Attention to the Brand Image and Innovative Packaging
Another interesting tendency noted at the IFA 2017 exhibition was the large amount of attention devoted to branding and packaging. “This year the large market players made an effort to stand out not just because of their newest technologies, but also because of the way they were presented. In today’s retail marketing environment, in order for your product not to stagnate on the shelf, it is essential to pay special attention to the packaging concepts, using outstanding graphics, colour and other innovative solutions. These days consumers are not satisfied just with a good price. They feel they get value for the money they have spent by receiving clear information on why they should buy this particular product and clear instructions on how to use it”, the expert, Ignas Rumbutis, said. “We ourselves pay a lot of attention to packaging design. We introduced new concepts at the beginning of this year. We created unified packaging, using infographics instead of text, and we had openable boxes, so that the consumer could quite literally get close to the product,” said the Head of Product Development at ACME Europe.
Wireless Sound Technology
When Apple, the market leader, introduced telephones without a 3.5 mm connector last year, the demand for wireless headphones increased sharply. According to the specialist, Ignas Rumbutis, there was a wide variety of cordless headphones featured at IFA 2017, from headphones that covered the ears to Bluetooth headphones that transmit the sound through the facial bones. “A lot of attention was paid to the “true wireless” type headphones. They are extremely small, not even connected by wires to each other, and they are inserted in the ears. Since their playback time is not very long compared to conventional Bluetooth headsets, most manufacturers incorporate power banks in their boxes. Let’s say our true wireless headsets play for 2 hours, then the external battery extends this time up to 6 hours”, said I. Rumbutis.
The Army of Two-Wheel Electric Means of Transport was Supplemented by Scooters, One-Wheelers, Three-Wheelers and Electric Bicycles
“Last year there were quite a few electric transport devices to be seen, but this year they are one of the main attractions of the exhibition. Devices with one wheel, or two, or three, with a steering column, or simple scooters and skate boards – a new generation of electric transport devices. All that was missing were flying carpets”, the specialist joked. I. Rumbutis added that manufacturers distinguish electric transport devices not only by the number of wheels, but also by the marketing target group (children, adults) or the field of use, e.g. personal transport or commercial purposes. “It’s good news that technology is improving, production costs are falling, and the final cost is becoming more user-friendly. There is now more than one brand to choose from that can offer improved, good quality and certified means of transport, at a cost that is accessible for most people. ACME Europe is currently distributing two separate brands of electric transport, Segway and Kawasaki, in the Baltic countries”, said I. Rumbutis.
In the Near Future – Robots Will Be a Feature of Daily Life
“There was no shortage of robots at the exhibition. Most of them were for educational purposes, for example, with the consumer constructing the robot and programming the functions it does. There is no limit to the types of robots and the things they can do. It all depends on the details and the imagination”, said the specialist, sharing his insights. I. Rumbutis emphasised that the Alexa home voice control management system and its supporting devices received a great deal of attention. “Even though this is not something new from this year, it is currently enjoying popularity in the UK and USA. The golden age of Alexa is yet to arrive in most European countries,” the specialist said. One of several reasons for the delayed popularity of this system is its high price and the fact that people don’t see it as really useful. For the moment, IP cameras, which attracted a lot of attention at the exhibition last year, are more popular.
Last Year’s Novelties Reluctant to Leave the Limelight
I. Rumbutis observed that the categories which were tops last year are reluctant to leave the limelight. “Virtual reality, which arrived last year amid huge popularity and interest, is still one of the items attracting most of the attention and stimulating most of the discussions. Last year the interest in this at the IFA exhibition was huge, but at that time there was not enough content on offer and the cost was still a bit prohibitive. The increased popularity of 360° cameras has solved the content problem, and the cost of the technology came down as it improved. Whereas virtual reality was regarded as a miracle in 2016, now it is already regarded as normal,” the specialist said. “One more category that has attracted a lot of attention is equipment for computer games. I don’t mean just mouse and keyboard, as some might think. In this category, the leading items are special chairs and tables, headsets, screens, cushions to rest the arm on, etc.,” the Head of Product Development said.