2014 International CES by the Numbers

Ed Lee
Jan 31, 2014
The International CES in Las Vegas, NV is considered the premier trade show in the consumer electronics (CE) industry. In 2009, the show suffered a dramatic drop in attendance because of the economic crisis in the U.S., but has been steadily climbing back. This year, the weather gods did not cooperate. Frigid weather conditions across the county resulted in massive flight delays and cancelations during the weekend leading up to the show. As a result, many people headed to the show did not make it. Therefore, attendance numbers were likely a bit lower than show organizer the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) predicted. The following looks at some of the important statistics that surround the CES trade show and examines the health of the show.

Attendance

Attendance for the 2014 show was estimated to be over 150,000 people (final audited numbers should be available in April). However, given weather and travel issues, it is likely that attendance will be lower than this figure. As a result, it will be difficult to determine if attendance would have met or even surpassed this estimate, if there were not extenuating circumstances. As it stands, even at 150,000, attendance would have declined 2% from 2013. 2012 marked the peak in attendance at 156,000 attendees.

For the third year in a row, the PMA trade show was co-located with CES and is branded PMA@CES. The show occupied only a small section of the LVH conference space. It is unlikely that PMA had much of an effect on the attendance figures. Next year, PMA@ CES gets a promotion and will move out of the LVH and back to the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center where it has been in past years. This should give the event and exhibitors much higher visibility at CES.

Figure 1: CES Attendance Numbers, 2002-2014

Attendees per 1,000 Square Feet

A new record was set for floor space occupied. This year, 2.0 million square feet was occupied, which is up from last year’s record of 1.92 million square feet. Calculating the number of attendees per 1,000 square feet reveals a low number of 75 attendees per 1,000 square feet in 2014. This is the second lowest figure since we began tracking them; surpassed only by the 67 figure in 2009, during the recession. When actual figures are released the attendee number is expect to be lower and negative impact this figure. However, we will not be able to say whether it was due to factors surrounding the show, or just a result of extenuating weather circumstances. We may have to wait until the conclusion of the 2015 show to see what the trend line looks like. For now, the trend line for attendance per 1,000 square feet implies that attendance is not keeping up with space increases.

Figure 2: Attendees per 1,000 Square Feet 

InfoTrends Opinion

CES continues to be the most important show for the consumer electronics industry. Other shows, however, are gaining traction in areas that CES once played a stronger role in. For camera vendors, it is too easy to be drowned out by the noise of other CE product announcements at CES. Camera announcements were limited this year at CES. It may be because camera vendors are looking to the CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging Show (Yokohama, Japan) in February to become the main event for important camera and photo related announcements. Mobile World Congress (Barcelona, Spain) in February is becoming a strong venue for mobile phone and computing related announcements. Mobile and imaging are still two very important segments in the consumer electronics space. It would be wise for CES to make sure that these products remain well represented in future shows.

InfoTrends will be covering both upcoming trade shows. Ed Lee and Alan Bullock will be speaking once again at the CP+ Digital Imaging Seminars. If you are there, please plan to attend the sessions. They promise to be informative and thought provoking. Click here to learn more about the sessions.

Ed Lee and Mette Eriksen will be covering Mobile World Congress. If you would like to set up a meeting, drop us an email.

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