The start of a new year always brings with it a new CES trade show where cutting edge companies can show off their latest and greatest innovations and even their tried and true general products. This held true to its billing and although many publications made mention of the record attendance at the show, one thing was abundantly clear to those exhibiting and attending the show, there was a considerable decrease in the number of companies exhibiting at the show. Some of that is due to natural attrition and a good portion is due to economic hardships brought on from the current financial crisis, but a number of previous exhibitors that I spoke to simply felt the show did not have the appeal it once did.
You always can tell when a show is loosing its pull with exhibitors when the show floor begins to shrink (as was the case in the south hall where nearly a quarter of the 1st floor was curtained off and a far greater than before amount of space was dedicated to dining and rest stations where booths normally occupied). In fact just 2 short years ago, CES not only filled up the entire LV convention center (there were no curtained off or dining/relaxing space on the show floor), but also took up about 3 quarters of the Sands Expo Convention Center as well. There was a glaring difference in the feel and size of this years exhibitors, not so much with the major fortune 500 companies but from the small to medium business which count on these trade shows to get the attention of both the general public and corporate movers and shakers to grow their businesses.
Even with the reduction is attendees, we managed to have a very productive show and had numerous quality meetings and discussions with potential customers and venders. So our commitment to exhibiting at CES is unchanged, but I merely hope that it can regain its luster and appeal as the worlds most prominent electronics show.