Shock Waves: CES Retracts Plans for a Physical Show in January

After confirming plans for an in-person show in June, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) on July 28 announced that CES will take an all-digital format in January. The news comes as a shocking blow to the industry, much of which had viewed the announcement of a physical event as a sign of the industry’s comeback. According to the CTA, safely gathering roughly 175,000 people simply isn’t possible in the current climate.

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“Amid the pandemic and growing global health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it’s just not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person,” said Gary Shapiro, president and ceo of the CTA, in a statement. “Technology helps us all work, learn and connect during the pandemic—and that innovation will also help us reimagine CES 2021 and bring together the tech community in a meaningful way. By shifting to an all-digital platform for 2021, we can deliver a unique experience that helps our exhibitors connect with existing and new audiences.”

Taking place Jan. 6-9, 2021, the virtual CES experience will be “highly personalized,” for the exhibitors, customers and thought leaders in attendance, according to the CTA. Keynotes and conferences offering insights from global tech leaders, meetings and networking opportunities that encompass live interactions, meetups and roundtable discussions, and a product showcase featuring live demos that allows attendees to explore products and services based on their interests and industry will all be part of the program.

The CTA advised attendees to be on the lookout for more news surrounding CES 2021, and announced plans for an in-person show in Las Vegas in 2022.

Kait Shea
Posted by Kait Shea

Kait joined EM in 2015 and today enjoys her role as senior editor, digital content. When she’s not in reporter mode, rocking mermaid pants at Comic-Con or running laps at MWC Barcelona, you can find her at home listening to music.
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