IFA 2021 plans to return to its regular in person format

Mike Wheatley

The organisers of the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin, better known as the IFA show, have said they intend to return to a regular, in person format in 2021.


The coronavirus pandemic that spread around the globe early last year forced the cancellation of most physical exhibitions and shows, with most resorting to holding an all-digital event instead. CES 2021 for example, took place entirely online, with companies showcasing all of their new products for this year via a special web-based event.

IFA 2020 was a bit different, as the organisers somewhat stubbornly opted to host a scaled down show that was restricted to just a few hundred accredited visitors and journalists appearing in person, with social distancing requirements in place. The show was broadcast to the rest of the world via the web.

But while the IFA 2020 format was heralded as a success, numerous tech journalists said that although they enjoyed the digital access, they missed the hands-on experience that comes with physically attending the event.

The hope then, is that last year’s edition was a one-off, as the IFA 2021 website is boldly proclaiming that it will “see you at the most inspiring global tech event” between September 3rd and 7th at its regular venue in Berlin.

The IFA organisers are clearly hoping that the global rollout of mass vaccinations will help to restore some normality to the world sooner rather than later, and a number of companies that usually exhibit at IFA, including Blaupunkt, Miele and Metz, have welcomed the idea of returning to an in person event.

“IFA in Berlin is one of the most inspiring highlights in our diary every year,” said Miele Group executive director and co-proprietor Dr Reinhard Zinkann. “We are delighted to be taking part in 2021 and look forward to seeing each other again.”

IFA Managing Director Jens Heithecker said he was “overwhelmed” by the strong commitment shown by its partners.

However, it remains to be seen if major consumer electronics brands such as Philips and Samsung will commit to the physical event. Last year, both companies pulled out of IFA when they learned of its plans to allow some attendees, citing fears over their employees’ safety.