CES Gets Small

By  |  Monday, January 12, 2009 at 1:30 pm

ceslogoOver at VentureBeat, Dean Takahashi is reporting that this year’s Consumer Electronics Show drew 110,000 employees, down 22 percent from last year’s event. The official, audited attendance figures won’t arrive for a few months, but unless they’re sharply higher it looks like this may have been the smallest CES in a decade or more. For those of who made the trek to Vegas, smaller is in some ways better–it’s fewer bodies to compete with in taxi lines, and fewer bodies trying to elbow their way by you on the show floor. But it may also be one more piece of evidence that the era of humongous trade shows is coming to a close. We’ll know for sure next year, if the economy is in at least slightly more robust shape and CES 2010 shows a similar decline in attendance.

I’m not predicting the imminent death of the show, and if it goes away I’ll miss it. But in my time in this business I’ve seen the death of Comdex (which was once held twice a year), PC Expo (ditto), and Macworld Boston–and hey, the first CES I attended was the last Summer CES in Chicago, which was held back in 1994. I fully expect to outlive the current CES, too–at least in its current overwhelming and exhausting form.

 
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2 Comments For This Post

  1. DTNick Says:

    This was my first CES. If this one was small, I don’t even want to know what “big” is like. o_O

  2. Keith Shaw Says:

    The size of the show this year was definitely manageable from a crowd standpoint. I remained busier than ever, and had much less time waiting in line for cabs, buses, food, etc. It was definitely more enjoyable with the lower numbers, IMHO.

2 Trackbacks For This Post

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    [...] answer might surprise you Harry McCracken, who used to be the lead editor over at PC World, notes that CES is getting smaller. 22% smaller this [...]

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    [...] agree with my friend Harry McCracken that CES 2009 was definitely smaller than past years. But I vehemently disagree with Dean Takahashi’s assesment that this is a “grim” [...]