Rapidly becoming Europe’s answer to CES (the US’ International Consumer Electronics Show), IFA has become an important predictor of the hottest trends that will influence the holiday market. We sent our innovation experts to be our eyes on the ground, giving us the scoop on the latest and greatest developments within the world of consumer electronics. They didn’t disappoint.
One of the reasons IFA is on our must-attend list every year, is that it acts as a barometer, showing us the direction in which the consumer electronics industry is headed, both for 2018 and beyond. This year, we spotted five trends that will have an impact on the industry.
Companies are realizing that to compete in our connected world, they need to offer more than products. Products need to become platforms that support regularly updated services. The days where you could launch a standalone product that would dominate the market for an extended period of time are gone. Now it’s all about the ecosystem. Building an ecosystem around a product ensures that it stays relevant in this world of rapidly changing standards and light-speed technological advances. Through connectivity and software updates, products actually increase in value over time, something that interests both companies and consumers. The challenge with this trend is that consumers tend to put very little value on the physical products themselves. Almost all the value lies in the intangible, the system of services that the product enables the consumer to access.
Consumer electronic companies are expanding their portfolios to an unprecedented scale in order to offer organizations operating in public and private infrastructure a sustainable approach to the future. Over the past few years, consumer electronic companies have had their sights set on public and private infrastructure, developing products and services that target this domain. This year at IFA, this trend finally hit the mass market. All of the top brands were targeting domains like transportation, health, education, food waste, renewable energy and city infrastructure, offering companies in these sectors visions for how their products could help them have a positive social and environmental impact on the future.
For example, Panasonic’s exhibition, Better Living Tomorrow, presented a future where Internet of Things (IoT), AI and robotics technologies combine to make people’s lives more convenient by creating a connected environment between households and the outside world.
Companies are increasingly using storytelling to ingrain their products in users’ lifestyles. People are not buying products; they are buying experiences. Today’s consumers want more than a product. They want an experience. To accommodate this trend, companies are finding themselves in the role of both product developer and storyteller, having to move beyond product development to experience creation. As the lines between home, work and play are being blurred, products must speak to people no matter where they are and no matter what they’re doing. To win people’s hearts, and wallets, companies need to put their products in a context, a lifestyle that appeals to their customers. IFA provided several examples of how major brands are introducing multi-touch point experiences.