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2022 CES Wraps: Attendance Down Nearly 80%

The 2022 CES was held from January 5-7 but attendance was way down to an estimated 40,000 with only about half the usual number of exhibitors presenting.

CES 2022 Arch Show Open with Panasonic Banner in Background

The pandemic has played havoc with the world’s most important consumer A/V event and it looks like the 2022 CES Show will have a smaller footprint and fewer attendees based on current registrations; both vendors and media.

With the advent of the COVID Omicron variant, several press outlets and major exhibitors pulled out.

In addition, the show closed a day early.

UPDATE 1/7/2022: The CTA estimates 40,000 attendees and 1,800 press attended, but still claims that there were over 2300 exhibitors, including about 800 startups. That’s nearly an 80% drop in attendance from the trade show’s pre-pandemic peak attendance of 184,279 at CES 2017 (pdf) and a 50% drop in exhibitors from its peak of 4,598 at CES 2018 (pdf). A huge setback for CES, which had been averaging attendance of 170,000 to 180,000 in recent years (excluding 2021 as it was all virtual).

Related reading: Check out our new product coverage from CES 2022.

Photos from CES 2022

CES 2022 Innovations Awards Showcase
CES 2022 Innovations Awards Showcase
CES 2022 Show Floor 8K TVs
CES 2022 Show Floor 8K TVs
CES 2022 Show Floor at the Venetian
CES 2022 Show Floor at the Venetian
AR/VR at CES 2022
AR/VR at CES 2022

Exhibitors that pulled out of the 2022 CES included:

  • T-Mobile
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Amazon
  • iHeart Media
  • Nvidia
  • Lenovo
  • INTEL
  • GM
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • AMD
  • Monster
  • Proctor and Gamble
  • Casio
  • OnePlus
  • MSI (MSI was not an official exhibitor but cancelled their parallel off-site event)
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • MediaLink
  • IBM
  • AT&T

The CTA (Consumer Technology Association) still focused on having an in-person show but about 42 major exhibitors canceled before the show started.

Original Story

It’s almost that time of year again and we’re excited to share some of the early news on the 2022 CES Show which will be held in Las Vegas from January 5-8, 2022.

We are moving into the New Year, and for all us gadget geeks, that means that the annual International CES is just around the corner.

CES Logo Consumer Technology Association

What CES is All About

After missing a year due to COVID restrictions, the 2022 CES will return to its traditional location, Las Vegas, Nevada, from January 5-8, with pre-show press events starting on January 3rd. The weather will be cold, but the Las Vegas convention center and the Strip will be hot with the latest consumer electronics technology innovations.

Consumer electronics manufacturers, retailers, and journalists gather at CES to not only see what products will be available in the coming year but to get a sneak peek at prototypes for future products that are still in development. The Annual CES is organized by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the largest trade organization for consumer electronics manufacturers, retailers, and others associated with that industry.

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Featured CES 2022 Keynote speakers will include:

  • Mary Barra, Board Chair and CEO of General Motors
  • Jong-Hee Han, President of Samsung Visual Display for Samsung Electronics

Note: For those that choose not to attend in person the CTA will also be conducting several events virtually pre-recorded or live. CES content will also be available throughout January 2022 following the onsite CES event.

This important trade show began over 50 years ago in 1967 with 17,000 attendees and 150,000 square feet of exhibit space. The CES has grown to well over 100,000 attendees (not including 5,000+ press) and takes up over 2 million square feet of exhibit space. Even though the 2022 event will be somewhat smaller than in recent years, there will still be thousands of attendees, and the number of press looks like it will number about 2,000.

CES 2020 Exhibitors Enterprise

CES Venues

For 2022, the exhibit space will be configured into three main zones: 

Tech East: Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) This includes the new West Hall, but South Halls will be closed, Westgate, and The Renaissance. The West Hall will feature automotive tech exhibits and Digital Health will move into North Hall. To get from one end of the sprawling LVCC to the other, the Las Vegas Loop will be in operation. 

Tech West: The Venetian Expo (formerly Sands Expo) and the  Venetian/Palazzo and Wynn/Encore Hotels. This venue will host a variety of exhibitors including start-ups (more on that later), photography, smart home devices, exercise tech, and a small number of high-end audio exhibitors.

In the past several years, the number of audio-only exhibitors has left CES in favor of other regional shows (Axpona, T.H.E Show, CanJam, Pacific Audio Fest, and Audio ConLA, that provide more support and attendee appeal for their product category. Additionally, the CEDIA Expo has been the main go-to show for high-end home theater and custom installation, despite recent struggles to attract exhibitors and attendees during the Delta variant spike.

Tech South (aka C-space): The Aria, Park MGM, Vdara Hotels. Tech South will have exhibits relating to entertainment content, social media, and social marketing.

Check out a map of the Exhibit Venue Locations (pdf).

In addition to the official exhibit venues, more companies will be showing off their wares in the major hotels throughout the Las Vegas Strip. 

Needless to say, it is impossible to see everything, even for those that attend all of the days of the show.

CES Product Debut Milestones

CES has been the springboard for cutting-edge consumer electronics products throughout the years. Here are some key product debuts

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  • 1970: Videocassette Recorder (VCR)
  • 1981: Camcorder, Compact Disc Player
  • 1996: DVD
  • 1997: Plasma TV
  • 1998: HDTV
  • 2001: Microsoft Xbox
  • 2003: Blu-Ray Disc, HD PVR
  • 2009: 3D Blu-ray and TV
  • 2010: Tablets and Android Devices
  • 2011: Connected (Smart) TV, Electric Cars
  • 2012: 4K TVs become available, 8K TV demonstrated.
  • 2013: 3D Printing
  • 2014: Curved and Bendable TV Screens, Connected (smart) Cars
  • 2015: 4K UHD Blu-ray, Virtual Reality
  • 2019: Roll-up OLED TV

Check out a 50-year timeline of CES technology milestones (pdf). 

CES Marketplace Retailing Attendee

New and Continuing Exhibits

What will be the big thing at this year’s CES? If some of the buzz is any indication so far, the spotlights will not only be on the usual products, such as TVs and entertainment-related technologies but there will also be new categories such as:

  • Food Tech
  • Space Tech

In addition, Automotive Tech, Robotics, and Heath and Fitness Tech will have an increased presence. Automotive tech will be the main occupant of the new West Hall and with Health and Fitness taking over North Hall, and a portion of the Venetian Expo.

One interesting automotive tech demonstration will be held off-site at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The demonstration will feature a race between self-driving Indy-class race cars

Another exhibit that has garnered increased popularity is Eureka Park, in the Venetian Expo venue. This exhibit is dedicated to international startups and despite possible COVID travel restrictions, there will be some countries physically represented. 

TCL X925PRO 85-inch OD Zero mini-LED 8K TV Lifestyle
TCL X925PRO 85-inch OD Zero mini-LED 8K TV

TVs Still Get a Lot of Attention

As mentioned, TVs are still the big draw in their established Central Hall location. Although companies don’t reveal specifics on what they will spotlight until just before the show, 2022 may turn out to be an interesting year in TV tech. 

Samsung is excepted to shake things by showing a new line of TVs using QD-OLED (QD Display) Technology, as well as continuing to promote their MicroLED TV tech. It’s possible that other TV makers may display their own microLED-based TV products

Tip: There are also reports that Sony may introduce its own line of QD-OLED TVs, which could take some of the exclusivity out of Samsung’s efforts in that area.

Trends also point to more manufacturers jumping into the 8K TV space with a wider range of prices and ever-larger screen sizes. TCL has already won a CES 2022 Innovations Award for its flagship X9 Series 8K TV.

Serious Issues 

Despite all the glitz and hype, one issue that affects almost all tech categories that will be of major discussion amongst the press and attendees will be the effect of the current worldwide chip shortage, supply chain delays, and inflation. How these issues play out will determine what tech products consumers will actually be able to buy and use in 2022. 

It is important to note that all attendees will be required to conform to CES COVID protocols.

Update 12/3/2021: It is being reported that high-profile exhibitors, such as Samsung and LG, and host organization CTA (Consumer Technology Association) are keeping a close watch on the COVID Omicron situation and how it might restrict international travel and any extended quarantine time for CES exhibitors, attendees, and press.

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Related reading: New products from CES 2022

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Gary Shapiro

    December 6, 2021 at 11:46 am

    I get the sense that it’s too late to cancel CES but that it will end up like CEDIA to an extent with fewer exhibitors and less media who will have issues with the testing and vaccination requirements.

  2. Frank Smith

    December 21, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    I have heard that many exhibitors have pulled out or are sending skeleton crews – is it worth the cost with a greatly reduced show and the spread of omicron?

    • Ian White

      December 21, 2021 at 5:08 pm

      CTA is telling a different story based on recent emails and news stories. I know news organizations are sending very small crews (even 1-2) instead of the usual 20-30. We’re sending 1 at most to meet with specific companies.

      Sadly, it boils down to money. Does the show survive if it doesn’t happen in a few weeks?

      I suspect Q1 (other than Florida) is going to be quiet in terms of shows. I don’t see the NYC CanJam happening based on current rules and travel issues.

      Ian White

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