Messe Berlin and gfu Consumer & Home Electronics GmbH have jointly announced that IFA 2021 will not take place in September as a physical live event as originally planned. Acccording to a press release, the decision was made following detailed conversations with public health experts and multiple stakeholders. Ultimately, several key global health metrics did not move as fast in the right direction as had been hoped for, said Messe Berlin. For example, the rapid emergence of new COVID-19 variants have resulted in continued uncertainties about the speed of the rollout of vaccination programmes around the world.
This in turn is adding uncertainty for the companies that were committed or interested in coming to Berlin, as well as media and visitors – all of whom have to plan well ahead with regards to budgets, investments and travel – not just for IFA, but all similar events around the world. Another consideration is the fact that Messe Berlin continues to support the fight against COVID-19 by accommodating a vaccination centre and an emergency hospital facility in parts of its exhibition area both are now likely to be required for longer than originally anticipated.
“Innovation needs a platform; it needs the focus of global attention”, said Kai Hillebrandt, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of gfu Consumer & Home Electronics GmbH. „That’s why brands and manufacturers across the tech industry were very keen to come to IFA Berlin 2021. Unfortunately, the latest public health developments introduced too much risk into everybody’s planning for the event. There simply are now too many uncertainties. Therefore, right now it has become near impossible for anyone to responsibly plan their participation in any trade show.”
“We did not take this decision lightly”, added Martin Ecknig, the CEO of Messe Berlin. „IFA Berlin is arguably the most important event of the year for brands and retailers alike. IFA Berlin connects our industry with trade visitors, media and real consumers like no other event. However, the health and safety of everybody has to be absolutely paramount. The efforts to contain this pandemic – from the roll-out of vaccination programs to the resumption of international travel – did not happen at the pace we had hoped for. Given these developments, this difficult and disappointing decision was inevitable.“
Preparations on other IFA related events such as the Berlin Photo Week at Arena Berlin and Shift Mobility are continuing as planned.
The organizers of IFA said theyare now working with their partners from industry, trade and media to get everything ready for IFA 2022, which will be held as a full-scale live event at the Berlin exhibition grounds.