The trade show dominoes keep tumbling, with cancellations now stretching into the new year with words that the mammoth CES show set for Las Vegas in January is now going to be an online-only thing.
Says show owner Consumer Technology Association:
“With the growing global health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it is not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person.”
“An all-digital CES 2021 will allow the entire tech community to safely share ideas and introduce the products that will shape our future. You’ll be able to participate in all the awe-inspiring moments of CES wherever you are in the world. We are designing a unique experience for the tech industry.”
CES 2021 will offer a highly personalized experience:
Keynotes and conferences. Now you’ll have a front-row seat for groundbreaking announcements and insights from the world’s tech leaders completely online.
Product showcase. With this digital evolution of the CES show floor, you’ll be able to explore products and services, based on your interests and business, through dynamic product showcases or live demos.
Meetings and networking. You’ll be able to engage with the brands, thought leaders and business connections you care about with live interactions, meetups or roundtable discussions.
“Technology has helped us all work, learn and connect during the coronavirus pandemic, and it has presented real solutions to help solve complex global challenges. We recognize that, particularly in these uncertain times, it is the partnerships of some of the most creative minds that bring the best solutions to life.”
The show attracted about 175,000 people in 2020, so going digital-only will have a MASSIVE impact on Las Vegas. It is estimated the show generates about $300 million in room nights, food, drinks, etc etc for the city – and an online show will bring that down to zero or close to it.
This is, of course, not at all surprising. I don’t expect to be going to a live trade show in the US until AT LEAST this time next year, and that’s probably optimistic.
I don’t wish ill of the industry events doggedly hanging on to their fall dates, but can’t see them happening. If they do go off, who’d travel to attend??? Even locally?
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.