Tech sustainability now one of the top two factors in buying decisions, says IFA chief

Tech sustainability is now either the top or second factor in consumers’ buying decisions, said the head of IFA’s management team on-stage at the official launch of the world’s biggest consumer electronics and home appliances show.

“I would say, even only a year or so ago, sustainability was at maybe number four, number five [in reasons to buy a product], right behind the price, behind the brand, behind the quality of the product,” said Oliver Merlin, IFA’s Managing Director. “Now, sustainability is one or two.”

He added: “And if you don’t believe that… ask the consumers. We asked all of our customers this year and they said absolutely. They get told the same thing. All of the retailers and the buying groups absolutely tell us the same thing.”

Even we were surprised, despite putting sustainability as one of our top five trends at IFA in our predictions piece.

It ties in with another mini trend, highlighted by IFA’s MD of Consumer & Home Electronics, Dr Sara Warneke, that people’s buying habits were switching from an upgrade mentality to replacement. That is, rather than upgrade your TV after two years for a better model, people are waiting for it to fail and then replace it.

“The sustainability of products is more and more becoming a key reason to buy, especially for younger generations,” said Dr Warneke. “Sustainability must be more than a marketing claim. It has to be a measurable benchmark, and the more brands achieve the better.”

Tech sustainability at IFA

We expect sustainability to be more than a flag-waving effort at IFA 2023. For example, we accidentally stumbled into the Samsung hall yesterday and it has a significant area dedicated to the theme.

IFA itself has what it is calling a Sustainability Village. “I would say maybe alongside AI, [sustainability] has been the two biggest topics this year. That’s why we have created a whole physical space in hall two,” said Merlin.

Hall two is one of the biggest at IFA, so this is a big statement. The show organisers hope to attract people (the show is open to the public from Saturday) with a repair shop, where they can bring broken products to be fixed, and a stream of speakers.

Over the show’s four days, companies and organisations on stage include Miele, Fairphone and Save the Children.

Avatar photo
Tim Danton

Tim has worked in IT publishing since the days when all PCs were beige, and is editor-in-chief of the UK's PC Pro magazine. He has been writing about hardware for TechFinitive since 2023.