What normally happens in Vegas each year in January won’t be in Vegas after all.
CES 2021, scheduled to run Jan. 6-9, 2021, will not be held in Las Vegas, the Consumer Technology Association announced. It’s the latest event canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has had a resurgence in the U.S. the past two months. Instead, the trade group said, next year’s consumer electronics show — historically, the biggest tech trade show in the world — will be presented as “an all-digital experience” on the same dates.
As recently as late June, the trade group had been planning to hold a scaled-down version of the confab in Sin City in January 2021. Now, CTA said, it plans to return to Las Vegas for CES 2022, “combining the best elements of a physical and digital show.”
“Amid the pandemic and growing global health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it’s just not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person,” CTA president/CEO Gary Shapiro said in a statement.
In recent years, Hollywood execs and media and entertainment companies have increasingly flocked to CES’s C Space as a hub for meetings and events amid the sprawling trade show. Now, like nearly every industry event since mid-March, CES 2021 will happen in cyberspace.
CTA said it would announce programming details for the virtual CES 2021 later. The trade association said the digital convention and expo will be a “highly personalized experience” and is set to include talks from “tech innovators,” news announcements and product demos.
Even when CTA had been planning to go ahead with the in-person running of CES 2021 — with safety protocols — the group had acknowledged that it would be “a smaller show than it has been in recent years. Fewer people will be able to travel to the United States and to Las Vegas, and many of our smaller and international exhibitors will not be able to travel to Las Vegas to exhibit this year.”
CES 2020 drew 170,000 attendees and more than 4,400 exhibiting companies across more than 2.9 million net square feet of floor space, according to CTA. That was down from 175,000 attendees and 4,500-plus exhibitors in 2019.