CES Attendance Dropped 22 Percent This Year


The big question being asked by everyone last week was: is the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as busy as it has been in years past? The short answer: No. The number of attendees being reported is about 110,000 visitors, which was down 22 percent from last year, and falls short of the organization’s 130,000 predicted to attend, reports VentureBeat. Last year, the show had about 141,150 people in attendance. However, the exact numbers won’t be revealed until the audited report comes out in 90 days. CEA’s President and CEO Gary Shapiro said at a CEA-sponsored dinner that I attended on Friday night that the show floor consisted of 1.7 million square feet, or the equivalent of 35 football fields, and that there was 2,700 exhibitors. Of the attendees, 25,000 came from outside the U.S., and there were 300 first-time exhibitors. But lacking in his presentation was any mention of how the economy affected the show. Release.

From the mobile perspective, which only makes up a sub-segment of the show, there were three big stories. Microsoft announced that it won the Verizon Wireless contract to provide mobile search and advertising to all of its wireless devices; the Open Mobile Video Coalition said it is on track to launch free mobile TV in dozens of markets this year; and Palm unveiled its new operating system and its latest device, the Pre, to rave reviews.

But I will allow you to be the judge of the crowds this year — check out this video I shot on the second day of the conference. To be sure, taxi lines seemed nonexistent and getting on a shuttle bus was a breeze, but execs and business people still buzzed around the show floor.

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