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CES Wrap: Attendance Lighter Given Economy

Easier to get around at this year’s show

This was a weird Consumer Electronics Show in some ways. For one thing, attendance was much lighter than in the past. CEA pegged the figure at around 110,000.

Based on my observations and in discussions with engineers who attended the show, I’m thinking it was more like 90,000 to 100,000 — still quite respectable, and unsurprising given the economy. Still, declining attendance numbers are never a positive for convention sponsors or exhibitors.

By day three, some of the food vendors were closing in the backs of the exhibit halls for lack of business. The acid test? I’m told the cab lines were only 15 minutes; that’s compared to the usual 45 minutes for this show. I switched to the monorail awhile back to avoid the cab lines at this show.

The north hall was really quiet. Most of the action was in the south and central halls as well as the Sands/Venetian. Delphi pulled out of the north hall — a big loss for CES.

I talked to NAB head David Rehr, who was promoting radio to cell phone companies at the show, along with Jeff Haley of RAB. I asked Rehr if he was worried about NAB attendance in April after seeing this and he said they’re re-doubling their efforts on speakers/sessions to make it worthwhile to attend. There’s so much that I saw and discussed with folks at this show I’m doing some stories today and another in the next edition. Were you there? Tell me your own impressions about radio topics or cool new consumer devices. E-mail [email protected].