C.E.S. Draws Record 330 New Exhibitors, 120,000 Attendees Amid Optimistic Atmosphere

By Alesandra Dubin January 11, 2010, 3:15 PM EST

Attendees packed the C.E.S. show floor on January 7.

Photo: Jacob Kepler for BizBash

The 2010 Consumer Electronics Show formally wrapped its four-day run yesterday in Las Vegas. In the final analysis, C.E.S., the world's largest consumer technology trade show, drew about 2,500 exhibitors—including a record 330 new ones—introducing 20,000 new products. The event also packed in more than 120,000 attendees, a modest increase over last year, after falling from more than 140,000 before the economic downturn. (In 2009 CES hosted 113,085 verified attendees.) International attendance also increased by more than 1,000 attendees.

In a snaking taxi line on Friday afternoon, one airport-bound attendee remarked that a lingering effect of the recession was that people may be leaving the show earlier than in the past, ahead of typically slower weekend programming—but in most industry players' minds, the show remains too important to skip altogether.

More than 5,000 reporters, analysts, and bloggers were among the show's attendees, generating significant global media coverage. (The Consumer Electronics Association, which owns and produces the show, conducts an independent attendance audit and expects to release the final verified figures in the spring.) Contributing to the considerable press coverage attracted by C.E.S. were the celebrities and sports figures on the show floor, including Taylor Swift, Lady GaGa, Dr. Dre, Drew Carey, P. Diddy, Tommy Lee, Bette Midler, and others.

“The innovations unveiled this week at the 2010 International C.E.S. brought new optimism and opportunity to our industry and the global economy,” said C.E.A. president and C.E.O. Gary Shapiro. “This show exceeded expectations with its innovation, optimism, and excitement.”

Importantly, exhibitors felt their show experience was positive, after last year's rough environment. Gibson Guitar Corp C.E.O. Henry Juszkiewicz said in a statement, “This is where we chose to showcase two fundamental innovations. At C.E.S. we get opinion leaders, press, bloggers, and influencers. No other show or event allows us this exposure and ability to brand build.”

Echoing the exhibitors' and attendees' overall positive sentiments was a New York Times report that noted, “The mood at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was decidedly more upbeat than at the previous year’s show. At that exhibition, the chatter on the floor was less about innovation and breakthrough technologies than about how to weather the economic storm that would impede the kind of discretionary spending much of the electronics industry relies on. This year’s show was a return to optimism.”

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