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CES 2021 Becomes Latest Event to Move Online Amid COVID-19

The CES 2020 show opening arch.
(Image credit: CES)

The Consumer Electronics Show has become perhaps the biggest trade event to move online in the COVID-19 era.

Event producer the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) said Tuesday that the 2021 event, originally set to unfurl in Las Vegas January 6-9, will be moved to an online-only format.

Also read: Coronavirus Cancellations: Everything You Need to Know About How the Outbreak Is Impacting the Global Media-Tech Events Business

"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, CTA. "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.

"We plan to return to Las Vegas for CES 2022, combining the best elements of a physical and digital show," Shapiro added. 

CES 2020 drew 170,000 attendees and more than 4,400 exhibitors, spread out over 2.9 million square feet of floor space, CTA said. Attendance was down by 175,000 from 2019. 

It's only the latest media tech convention to succumb to the pandemic, with the 2020 iterations of NAB Show, IBC and SCTE-ISBE Cable-Tec Expo all moving online.