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February 1, 2021
[EIDETIC INSIGHT] CES 2021: Going Virtual
From rollable smartphones to graphics cards, AI-powered vacuums to drones, this year’s CES had plenty of cool and interesting technology to take in. It was the first year, also, that CES, the world’s largest consumer-electronics show, was not held in-person since its debut in 1967. This month, we’re looking into the numbers for CES, seeing how this giant show overcame the burden of the global pandemic, and what exhibitors brought to offer at the show.
In previous years, the CES show floor was absolutely packed with exhibitors from around the world, stretching over 2.9 million sqft in 2020, with over 4,400 exhibitors fighting for the attention of about 180,000 attendees. This year, due to public health concerns, the venue was moved to the virtual space, and as such, lowered the amount of exhibitors (1,943) and attendees (80,746) by more than half.
This goes without saying as being quite a hit to the numbers that CES is accustomed to pulling in. The show did succeed, however, on pulling in digital views. With over 3 million conference and keynote views, many audiences outside the attendees of the events were eager to see what CES 2021 had to offer.
And there was a lot to see. LG unveiled the LG Rollable in a trailer that demonstrated the rollable smartphone’s front side capabilities as the screen grew and shrunk. Razer unveiled a ‘smart mask’ with RGB lighting and rechargeable filters. NVIDIA and AMD also came to battle it out with reveals of new graphics cards for gaming laptops and processors for mobile devices.
So how did the exhibitors fair in this new virtual space? It’s reported that the show generated over a million leads for exhibitors. Not bad considering the fraction of the costs required for exhibitors to hold their exhibitions virtually compared to the pricey real estate of the CES showroom floor.
This does not mean CES 2022 will be held online, as it has already been announced that they will be back in Vegas next January. The lessons learned from this experiment, however, will certainly carry over to how companies and the show itself approach virtual attendees in the future.