BVDW interview: trends driving the digital industry in 2024

A new year means a renewed thirst for knowledge and action. The question of all questions is: What trends will drive us in 2024? None other than the Board of the German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW) delivers some key insights.

Trends of 2024: the Board of the BVDW looks ahead.
Image: BVDW


Dirk Freytag, what does the BVDW predict for 2024?

Dirk Freytag is the President of the BVDW, Germany’s main advocacy group for the digital economy, making him one of the key influencers in the digital industry and a driving force behind digitalization.

Digital transformation has been an omnipresent topic in both the economy and society for years. And the process still won’t be complete in 2024. What’s more, another transformation has to be taken into account now as well, with more and more emphasis being placed on sustainability.

Image: BVDW

“As a society, we’ve never experienced two transformations at the same time before. It will be interesting to see whether the focus will fall more on digitalization or sustainability. My inkling is that the sustainability transformation will prevail in 2024 and in the years to come. However, the digital transformation will significantly contribute to the progress of the sustainability transformation,” is how Freytag sees the situation.

Eva Werle, what tech trends will shape 2024?

Eva Werle is the Vice President of the BVDW and represents the Emerging Technologies area – a topic close to her heart. The expert gives us an outlook on where AI is heading in 2024: the AI hype surrounding ChatGPT has triggered a range of reactions from various industries in the past year – whether skepticism, curiosity, or even complete enthusiasm, virtually every opinion has been represented. However, one thing has become clear: AI is here to stay.

Image: BVDW

“I don’t think the [AI] hype is anywhere near finished. It’s only just getting started! A year after the ChatGPT hype, I think AI will move more and more into the implementation phase in 2024 and we’ll feel its impact along the entire value chain – from digital companies to traditional industries,” says Werle.

The implementation of AI presents numerous challenges. In particular, more traditional companies that are still in the early stages of digital transformation will need time.

Werle reports that a survey conducted by the BVDW found that only one in four companies are positive about the changes that AI can bring. In 2024, it will therefore be crucial to involve people in this transformation to a greater degree and help them execute it. The question that companies should be asking themselves is: “How can AI benefit me?” We’re obviously not just talking about simplifying processes here, but also about being competitive on the market. “I believe that companies which can embrace this continuous technological development will not only become more resilient, but will also be able to identify and tap into new areas of potential for their business,” explains Werle.

Anke Herbener, what should digital agencies expect in 2024?

Anke Herbener is the Vice President of the BVDW and Deputy Chair of the Digital Agencies expert group. Herbener does not at all believe that there may be less demand for digital agencies in 2024 due to the increasing use of AI tools by companies:

Image: BVDW

“Of course, the economic situation in Germany is strained at the moment. Agencies are affected by that, too. However, companies and brands need agencies when creativity and consequently powerful campaigns are called for. The digital transformation is nowhere near where it should be. There is an incredible amount of work to do – agencies have always been a strong partner for companies and brands and will continue to be in the future,” Herbener predicts.

In short: digital agencies will be regarded as important players in 2024 when it comes to fueling and implementing digital innovations, whether using AI or other technological developments.

Corinna Hohenleitner, will the retail media hype continue in 2024?

In her role as Vice President of the BVDW, Corinna Hohenleitner’s tasks include supporting the further development of the Retail Media expert group. The BVDW recently defined new industry standards for retail media, thus delivering key metrics to improve the transparency and boost the efficiency of the most popular advertising category of recent years.

Image: BVDW

“We’ve published the first joint, cross-retailer definition of the retail media category and have used that to create an overview of the category’s entire portfolio, offering a truly holistic look at the possible formats and possible solutions in the context of retail media for the very first time. It provides an extremely important basis that we can now build on,” Hohenleitner explains.

The end of third-party cookies is also making retail media an interesting solution for the marketing industry to collect important data, so it will be a vital part of many marketing strategies in 2024. In short, the retail media hype is still real in 2024.

Carsten Rasner, what focus topics can we look forward to at DMEXCO 2024?

Carsten Rasner is the Managing Director of the BVDW, meaning he knows the digital association’s agenda inside out: “In 2024, we’ll once again be focusing on our three main themes of creativity, responsibility, and data,” says Rasner. They’re of course also at the heart of the German Digital Award, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and for which DMEXCO is a sponsor in the “Digital Transformation” category.

In terms of DMEXCO 2024, Rasner thinks the digital and marketing expo will revolve around two topics: AI and sustainability.

Image: BVDW

“Artificial intelligence will find its way into all areas of society and the digital economy and turn entire business models on their head. The question is: How can we use AI to make our economy more competitive? The second key focus will be sustainability in digital marketing: we want to present solutions and offer support. And DMEXCO will be a place that really highlights how digital transformation can be executed sustainably,” says Rasner.

As one of the leading international platforms for interaction, DMEXCO 2024 will therefore once again be a place that shapes the future of the digital industry and society.

Digital transformation, AI, and sustainability will define 2024

After a turbulent 2023, when the digital economy mainly just started to experiment with the topic of artificial intelligence, 2024 seems to be the year to take it to the next level. Alongside implementing AI, companies will have to tackle another major challenge: executing sustainable strategies that are aligned with their economic and social responsibility.