The household appliance and electronics trade fair IFA Berlin has to do without an important exhibitor in the crisis year 2020: The South Korean electronics giant Samsung will not take part in the IFA, which has been significantly reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We decided to present our most important news and announcements this year as part of our own digital event in early September,” Samsung told dpa on Tuesday.
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With Samsung, the IFA is missing one of the largest and most important exhibitors. The South Korean company has always used the fair in the past for new international product launches. As the core exhibitor at the IFA, Samsung traditionally occupies the upper floor of the CityCube opened in 2014 with over 6000 square meters of exhibition space.
Due to the global corona virus pandemic, Messe Berlin had decided not to host IFA 2020 as usual. It was already clear that a classic IFA with full halls would not be possible when the state of Berlin extended the ban on large-scale events with more than 5000 participants until October. The IFA traditionally takes place in early September.
Over the past few years, more than 240,000 visitors have come to the IFA on the Berlin exhibition grounds. That won’t work because of the restrictions this year. The IFA is therefore now planning to run the fair as four smaller, parallel individual events only for trade visitors and journalists, whose number of participants is limited to 1,000 visitors per day.
IFA “Special Edition”
But this shortened “IFA 2020 Special Edition” does not meet with undivided approval in the industry. Longstanding IFA veterans put the question of meaning and their participation to the disposition. It can also be heard from the industry that core international exhibitors are considering only sending their German employees to the IFA.
Samsung now prefers to do something of its own. The global market leader in consumer electronics will not, however, permanently turn its back on the fair. “Although Samsung will not be attending IFA 2020, we look forward to continuing our collaboration with IFA in the future,” said the company.
This would make IFA the first major trade fair in the tech industry since the CES in Las Vegas in January. The MWC Barcelona mobile phone show was canceled in February due to the spreading corona virus after numerous exhibitors announced their withdrawal. At that time, the GSMA industry association had to face harsh criticism for the MWC’s cancellation.
Trade fair year 2020 without trade fairs
But in the meantime it looks like most major events will be canceled in 2020. Other organizers have also canceled their trade fairs or announced digital alternatives. Computex will now be completely canceled in 2020 after having been postponed to September. Gamescom is scheduled to take place in August as a digital event. Numerous conferences are also canceled or only held digitally, such as the developer conferences from Facebook, Google and Apple.