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‘The great reconnection’: CES attendees outnumber ’22, surpass estimates

Updated January 10, 2023 - 10:26 am

CES brought in more attendees than organizers had initially anticipated during the annual four-day tech trade show that wrapped up Sunday.

The convention brought an estimated 115,000 industry professionals to the Strip, the Consumer Technology Association announced Sunday, marking a significant year-over-year increase in attendance but still lower than pre-pandemic figures.

CES 2022 saw about 45,000 attendees, largely because of the rapid spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19, while pre-pandemic shows typically attracted 170,000 conventioneers.

The pre-audit figures for this year’s show surpassed show producers’ initial estimate of 100,000 attendees. There were about 40,000 international visitors from 140 countries, CTA estimated, and 4,800 media members from about 70 countries.

“CES 2023 was the great reconnection and rocked by every measure — from attendance to the keynote stage to press conferences and product debuts on the exhibit floor — showing the entire world that in-person events are BACK!” Gary Shapiro, CTA’s president and CEO, said in a news release. “The innovation unveiled this week will drive economic growth and change in meaningful ways to improve our lives and create a better future for the next generation.”

The show hosted more than 3,200 exhibitors, including 1,000 startups, across 2.2 million net square feet of convention space at the Las Vegas Convention Center and The Venetian Expo. Sixty percent of Fortune 500 companies were represented at the show, according to CTA.

Officials with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority viewed the first convention of the year — often thought of as the year’s bellwether for business activity in Vegas — as a success. They also applauded its philanthropic support of sustainability-focused programs for three Nevada organizations: Green Our Planet, ImpactNV and Touro University Nevada.

“You couldn’t ask for a better way to kick off 2023 in Las Vegas,” Lori Nelson-Kraft, senior vice president of communications for LVCVA, said in an email. “CES left an incredible mark on Las Vegas and the tech industry by shattering attendance estimates, debuting incredible innovation, and investing in our local community with its $100,000 donation to sustainability programs.”

New this year was a theme for the event: “human security for all.” The show partnered with the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and the World Academy of Art and Science for a campaign that supports advancements in sustainability, accessibility, health care access, personal and community safety and political freedom.

During CES, businesses launched products and services in automotive and mobility tech, digital health, Web3 and the metaverse, sustainability, entertainment and more.

Industry analyst Brendan Bussmann said the ever-expanding industries represented at CES showed significant advancements in tech.

“This isn’t only about the coolest TV and everything else,” Bussmann, managing partner of Las Vegas-based B Global, said. “This is about a new car. This is about health care. This is about innovation in sports. It’s not your father’s CES that we once had even just a few years ago.”

Bussmann said he noticed a strong business sentiment among attendees, and colleagues asking for ways to get into CES to meet with partners and potential clients. He attributed some of this to the increase in international attendance compared to last year.

“They wanted to see what things were like and what was there from a commerce standpoint,” he said.

CES’s on-demand content — a remote option created during the pandemic and expanded for the 2023 show — will be available online through February. The show will return to Las Vegas Jan. 9-12, 2024.

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

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