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130K expected to attend top consumer electronics show in Las Vegas

Updated January 3, 2024 - 7:10 pm

CES, the trade show that bills itself as “the most powerful tech event in the world,” opens its doors in Las Vegas next week to an estimated 130,000 people, kicking off the start of one of the city’s busiest annual convention seasons.

More than 150 countries are expected to be represented at the show that will have displays in 41 different technology categories with exhibits set up at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Venetian Expo Center and Aria. While trade show floors will open for four days beginning Jan. 9, two days of media previews begin at Mandalay Bay on Sunday and a pre-show keynote address is planned Monday night at the Venetian Expo.

“The show is looking great,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the sponsoring Consumer Technology Association, said in a late December interview.

“It’s significantly above double digit (percentages) by almost every measure above last year from attendance to square footage to the number of exhibitors,” he said. “The show is basically about innovation and brings several different industries together at the CEO level. We will have over 3,500 exhibitors. We’ll be in over 2.4 million square feet of exhibit space. And from an innovation point of view, we expect a lot. Our innovations award entries are up over 40 percent over where we were last year. And that’s one of the measures. Our pre-registration is strong, especially globally. And a lot of companies are very excited to be coming.”

Despite the expansion of the event this year, the number of attendees is still expected to be below pre-pandemic levels.

In Las Vegas since ‘79

CES has been a Las Vegas staple since 1979 after first opening its doors in New York City in 1967. Between 1978 and 1997, the show was staged twice a year in different locations, but since 1998, Las Vegas has been the sole host.

Attendance has fluctuated over the years with the first show hosting 17,500 people with the event peaking at 182,000 in 2019. Attendance dropped in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 fears and restrictions but has grown steadily since then.

In addition to the thousands of new or improved products to be displayed at the show, CES 2024 will have more keynote presentations than any year in its history.

The management of artificial intelligence is expected to be a key topic at this year’s show and Shapiro said policy discussions are expected on how to protect jobs when automated systems are put in place.

Health and beauty tech

The health-care industry also is expected to have a major presence at this year’s show with keynoter Gail Boudreaux, president and CEO of Elevance Health, discussing the company’s use of technology to make health care more proactive, predictive and personalized.

Also, for the first time, beauty tech will have its own keynote spot with L’Oréal CEO Nicolas Hieronimus sharing the role that sustainable, accessible and inclusive beauty tech plays in driving positive impact.

The nation’s leading retail company, Walmart, also will be represented at CES for the first time with CEO Doug McMillon discussing his company’s vision to design and build technology that will usher in the next generation of retail.

One Las Vegas venue that won’t be in the CES mix this year is the Sphere, a 17,500-seat performance venue that opened in Las Vegas in September and has lit up the Las Vegas skyline since July 4. Shapiro said the cost of using the building was too steep for his association.

“They quoted a price to us which was just like beyond our capacity,” Shapiro said. “We’re a nonprofit organization. We turn money back to industry.”

The Sphere has brought a plethora of new technology to Las Vegas, including beam-forming sound technology that enables speakers to direct sound to specific areas within the arena. It also has visual attributes that are new to entertainment, including a 160,000-square-foot screen — almost 4 acres — with 16,000 x 16,000 resolution — 100 times better than the typical home television.

Sphere officials said multiple showings of “Postcard from Earth,” the Darren Aronofsky film featured at the venue, would occur during CES’ four-day run, but there are no CES-specific demonstrations planned.

The Jan. 9 start date for CES represents one of the latest kickoffs for the show and a return to an all-midweek presence. In past years, CES has had Thursday-through-Sunday or Saturday-through-Tuesday runs.

Two more shows up next

CES is the first of three major January conventions. World of Concrete, a construction and masonry industries show, runs Jan. 23-25 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, while the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show is scheduled Jan. 23-26 at the Venetian Expo and Convention Center and Caesars Forum.

Another major Las Vegas event is on the February calendar – and its organizers already have begun to arrive in Southern Nevada.

Super Bowl 58 is scheduled Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium and the National Football League begins filling some resort hotels a month in advance of the game.

When CES attendees begin arriving for their show next week, they’ll find higher-than-normal hotel room rates, a spillover from the well-attended New Year’s Eve “America’s Party” gathering.

Coming off November – the most expensive month for Southern Nevada hotel rooms in history – conventioneers staying in the city are continuing to pay premium prices.

A survey of hotel prices for CES indicated conventioneers will pay an average $266.81 a night for stays Tuesday through Friday night. That’s slightly more than the $261.76 a night guests paid on average for the weekend nights leading up to New Year’s Eve in a similar survey.

The Review Journal compiled the figure by surveying 89 Southern Nevada hotels priced on Hotels.com for a four-night stay Jan. 9-12. The survey was conducted Tuesday. Prices can change daily.

Several hotels were still offering rooms for under $100 a night as of Tuesday.

High room rates

The highest room prices were available at Four Seasons Las Vegas, $987 a night; Caesars Palace, $949 a night; Wynn and Encore Las Vegas, $713; The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, $687; Venetian and Palazzo, $686; and Bellagio, $632.

The cost of the city’s hotel rooms have been on a high roll since November.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which calculates monthly average daily room rates every month, reported in late December that the city’s hotel ADR for November was a record $249.31 a night. That month included rates that occurred during the inaugural Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix Nov. 16-18.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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