Keith McLoughlin, President and CEO of Electrolux, was the keynote speaker at the IFA 2011 fair in Berlin, Germany on 2 September 2011. More than 300 decision makers of the consumer electronics, home appliances and related branches attended.
Globalization and the network society have tipped the power balance from producer and retailer to the consumer, McLoughlin stated. Instead of companies, consumers drive change, innovation and growth, today. Some manifestations of this change are for example, that the network society has empowered consumers to discuss and review products. Another is, that consumers have expectations not only on the products, but on the companies themselves – just thinking of ‘sustainability’. Additionally, delivery doesn’t end at the moment of sales, anymore. Instead consumer service has become an essential part of the product.
Considering this new power of consumers, the question arises, should we, the manufacturers and retailers, try to take over again? No, according to McLoughlin. ‘Consumers in the driver’s seat’ makes society and economy more efficient. It is an opportunity for all industries – as excited and satisfied consumers grow the business.
The manufacturers and retailers being best at including the consumer, will have a distinct advantage, McLoughlin concluded. A company’s high performance in quality, service, transparency and functionality will guarantee consumer’s trust and loyalty. “As long as we continue to follow the consumers and deliver what they really need, producing and selling appliances will remain a vibrant, growing and successful industry and business opportunity,” he finalized.
IFA is one of the largest annual trade shows for consumer electronics and home appliances. It started as a consumer electronics show already in 1950, and since four years home appliances have also been included.