Many consider the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas each January to be the bellwether event of the tradeshow industry, the crystal ball foretelling the general health of the tradeshow industry for the coming year.
If such is the case, show producers and exhibitors may see an up tick in show-related attendance and/or business throughout 2010. On the other hand, general contractors, installation and dismantle (I and D) companies, exhibit houses and other tradeshow suppliers must still contend with corporate cutbacks that are negatively impacting tradeshow attendance.
Held at the Las Vegas Convention Center and several neighboring hotel venues January 7-10, CES is the world’s largest tradeshow for consumer technology and one of the largest shows worldwide. According to a CES press release, about 120,000 attendees registered for the 2010 event, up about 6 percent over the 2009 attendance of 113,085.
It sounds optimistic until you consider that the 2008 CES had a verified attendance of about 141,000 visitors; that’s about a 5 percent drop between 2008 attendance and 2010 attendance. Admittedly, there are probably more than a few show producers that will believe a 5 percent dip in show attendance this year over last year is tolerable as many experienced attendance slides of 20 to 30 percent between their 2008 shows and 2009.
Although CES attendance was up in 2010 compared to 2009, the number of exhibiting companies dropped 7.4 percent from about 2,700 exhibitors in 2008 and 2009 to 2,500 for 2010.
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In closing, this writer would like to add that having spent five days on the show floor, I am happy to report that the show’s overall energy appeared stronger and attendee and exhibitor enthusiasm higher compared to 2009. So, I am going to opt to see the CES glass as half full.
Aleta Walther is a Southern California-based marketing communications professional and freelance writer with several years experience as a corporate exhibit manager. Contact Aleta at firstname.lastname@example.org.