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World’s top tech brands return to IFA

The biggest tech show on the planet by visitor numbers was back in full force in Berlin over the past week

Tech brands and retailers returned in force to Berlin over the past week for the first large-scale IFA since 2019. 

Keynotes from Qualcomm, Arçelik, Honor, Huawei and Schneider Electric focus on a new generation of technology for the post-pandemic future, covering connectivity, sustainability and smart living.

The world’s largest technology expo by visitor numbers, it attracted up to a quarter-million visitors annually before the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, following nearly three years of high-speed digital transformation that have changed how we work, live and play, the latest technologies on show were designed and developed for a world that is more digital than ever before.

Despite pandemic restrictions still in place in some parts of the world, this year’s IFA Berlin hosted more than 1,100 manufacturers and brands from 46 countries on 151,000 square metres of floor space. 

The trade show took place at a crucial moment in time: Brands and retailers finally had a chance to reconnect after two years of record growth rates and just as the lockdown-driven boom is showing signs of disappearing.

Kai Mangelberger, David Ruetz, Dr. Sara Warneke, Martin Ecknig 

Kai Mangelberger, David Ruetz, Dr. Sara Warneke, Martin Ecknig

“2022 is a year full of challenges, many of which are interlinked,” says Dr Sara Warneke, MD of gfu Consumer & Home Electronics, which organises IFA. “Despite the declines in turnover and the negative influences, there are opportunities for positive developments in our industries. 

“We are convinced that IFA will once again live up to its role as the world’s most important platform for consumer electronics and home appliances and, thanks to its convincing mix, will act as a sustainable growth and innovation driver. IFA takes place during the important run-up to big retail drivers like Singles Day, Black Friday, Christmas and Chinese New Year.”

Martin Ecknig, chief executive of the Messe Berlin, the venue said: “IFA Berlin is back again, and what you see at IFA 2022 will shape our everyday world for the time after the pandemic. Global brands, retailers, innovators, trade visitors and journalists are coming to IFA because they finally have the opportunity to meet in person again and to see the full range of the connected life, end-to-end.”

This year’s IFA took place from 2 to 6 September, which coincides with the 200th anniversary of Messe Berlin itself.

Highlights included an innovation hub, IFA NEXT, which took visitors “to the edge of tomorrow”, with innovators, research institutes, start-ups and forward-thinking businesses  showing how they will transform everyday consumer living.

182 exhibitors – including around 120 start-ups – from 19 countries presented products and services in categories like AI, robotics, immersive experiences, smart living, smart home, sustainability, green tech and digital health.

The SHIFT Mobility innovation conference made a return to IFA, offering traditional companies and tech giants a platform to meet start-ups. The event hosted car manufacturers like Volkswagen, Ford, BMW and Mercedes Benz; technology companies like AWS and Qualcomm; start-ups like Lilium, Pivt, Lexgo and Autobrains; and top researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute and the University of Toronto.


The years 2020 and 2021 saw a pandemic-related boom with exceptional growth rates. In 2021, all world regions showed growth rates, some in the double-digit range. Due to this growth, 2021 was particularly positive for home electronics industries, with a growth of 12.6 % to more than US$1.4-trillion.

Compared to 2019, 2021 yielded a growth of 17 %. This phase recently came to an end and markets are declining globally. However, it is still at a level above the pre-pandemic year 2019. 

Right now, markets around the world are affected by interrupting supply chains and significant changes in exchange rates. The cost of energy and transport is at an unprecedented level. Strong inflation and increasing prices dampen customers’ demand and in some regions, pandemic-related lockdowns still occur.

Accordingly, with few exceptions, markets showed lower sales in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period last year, which amounts to a global decline of 5.5 %.

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