CES attendance falls off a cliff in 2009

CES attendance falls off a cliff in 2009

Summary: In today’s press release announcing he audited attendance figures from the January 2009 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Association tried to put a brave face on the numbers. But the reality is that they were truly terrible. Will 2010 be any better?

SHARE:
TOPICS: CES, Windows
12

In today’s press release announcing audited attendance figures from the January 2009 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Association tried to put a brave face on the numbers. But the reality is that they were truly terrible. Attendance at this year’s CES was down almost 20%, to a level lower than any year since 2002. CES officially overtook Comdex as the preferred technology tradeshow in 2003, with Comdex throwing in the towel in 2004. Attendance climbed steadily until 2006, fell slightly in 2007 and 2008, and plunged this year.

See for yourself:

Official attendance at the 2002 CES, which took place only four months after 9/11, was 99,438. Will the 2010 show drop back to those numbers or lower? In this economy, it’s hard to imagine any significant growth.

Two things will work in favor of CES next year: The Macworld Expo, which had overlapped with CES in recent years, is moving to February in 2010. Also, Windows 7 will be officially released before the end of 2009, and a new crop of PCs and peripherals taking advantage of the Windows 7 feature set should be available to show off at CES.

I skipped CES in 2009 but plan to attend next year’s show, primarily to see what I hope will be a large crop of new Windows 7-ready toys. Anyone else planning to be there?

Source data: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009.

Topics: CES, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

12 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • it was expected

    with a bad economy and no great keynote regarding Linux devices, there is no good reason to attend.
    Linux Geek
    • Hilarious

      So tens of thousands of people would have showed up at CES if Linux had been the subject of a keynote? Really?
      Ed Bott
      • And he missed another gag line, too

        he could have added that the "drop was also attributed to rumors of Apple attending", but at least the one-liner he did use was humorous, nontheless. :)
        GuidingLight
      • Yes Ed.

        For one thing there are more developers involved in Linux than anything else.

        The other one is that everybody knows that on the other side of the fence, in the Windows pen, all you get is a cloaked way to get at you or your employers money, poor copycat products and far more hype than anything else.
        fr0thy2
        • CES a developers show?

          Who knew?

          Ed Bott
  • RE: CES attendance falls off a cliff in 2009

    Not really surprising, with trade shows themselves becoming passe, and the worst economy in a very long time.
    marks055
  • Re: Macworld

    I thought that Apple had said they were
    no longer going to participate in
    Macworld expo. If so, I doubt that it
    would be much competition for CES.
    j.m.galvin
    • Yes, you're right

      Assuming Macworld Expo is still around and focused on third party products, smaller exhibitors would have to choose between it and CES. The larger point is that it no longer represents competition to CES, which it defy was in 2008 and 2009.
      Ed Bott
  • RE: CES attendance falls off a cliff in 2009

    Let's not forget that so many vendors are suffering from all of their biggest announcements being leaked weeks if not months earlier than their official announcements.

    I wouldn't attend a trade show either if I already knew what was being announced.
    GoodThings2Life
  • News from January 2009?

    Ed: You must have missed our news release on this from way back on January 11 on the closing day of the 2009 CES.
    In it, we stated that preliminary estimates suggest 2009 CES attendance would be more than 110,000. Yesterday?s news release is an upward revision of what we released in January.

    As has been widely reported, tradeshows across the board are finding 20-30 percent dips in attendance during these challenging economic times. And yet, quality attendance is triumphing over quantity. At the conclusion of the 2009 CES, our board of industry leaders unanimously reported that the 2009 CES succeeded beyond all expectations and that CEA should strive to restrict future attendance to 2009 attendance levels. I?m pleased to see that you plan to attend the 2010 CES. You?ll find the 2010 CES to be the single best way to see all the latest products and meet with all the key people from across the CE industry.

    Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA
    tdunion
  • RE: CES attendance falls off a cliff in 2009

    Attendees are saving their monies to attend for the release of Windows 7

    Might explain why the attendance was so high in 2006 for the release of Vista ;)
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: CES attendance falls off a cliff in 2009

    Yeah I agree.

    I think that Windows 7 will bring me out there to see
    what toys will be available.

    If 7 wasn't coming out, it wouldnt happen.

    Onuora
    http://www.windows7update.com
    Ammalgam