Record Attendance Means Reports of CES's Death are Greatly Exaggerated

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News Posted: Mon, Jan 16 2012 1:32 PM
We don't want to go so far as to call the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas the Rocky Balboa of technology conventions, but let's face it, there's a bit of uncertainty in regards to its longevity. In the past few years, CES didn't seem to bustle to the same extent it once did, and the gut punch this year came when Microsoft announced this would be the last time it would have a major presence at the show, giving up its floor space and not committing to future keynotes. Is CES done for?

Not quite. As it turns out, CES 2012 was the largest in the event's 44 year history with a record number of more than 3,100 exhibitors across the largest show floor the convention has ever had -- 1.861 million net square feet of exhibit space. CES drew record attendance with 153,000 people showing up to glimpse and report on the technologies of tomorrow.


Source: International CES

"The 2012 CES was the most phenomenal show in our history, generating more energy and excitement across every major industry touching technology than ever before," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA, owner and producer of the International CES. "CES is the change agent, the catalyst, that brings executives from a wide range of industries together and helps them create better ways of doing business together. The breadth and depth of the 2012 CES, which featured more innovative technology products than anywhere else on Earth, is a testament to the dynamic and innovative global consumer technology industry, which will reach $1 trillion globally this year."

You could write off the increased attendance as a side effect of Microsoft announcing ahead of time that this would be its last appearance, but that alone doesn't account for record attendance, nor does it explain the record number of exhibitors, who could care less if Microsoft is there or not.

In other words, it's premature to check for CES's name in the obituary section of the newspaper. And if you missed it, be sure to check out our own extensive coverage of CES 2012.
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Dave_HH replied on Mon, Jan 16 2012 2:29 PM

I can tell you that this year's CES was a very different show and the fact that major names are leaving the floor next year doesn't bode well for the organization. Many of the second tier OEMs had offsite showcases and briefings at hotels like the Venetian, which was like its own mini CES this year. Even bigger names like Lenovo just rented an off-floor trailer to brief the press. John Q Public may have been there in droves but the major players that showcase are opting for cheaper venues than the show floor. It ought to be interesting to see how this pans out next year.

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I wasn't there, but it's a fair argument to state that the increased attendance was probably due to the "get it before it's gone" feeling that was in the air before CES began.

The big names leaving (or having smaller sideshows ) is a bad sign in my opinion.

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