CES, the biggest tech show of the year, will be canceled in 2021 and held digitally

  • The physical version of CES, the annual major tech conference that takes place in Las Vegas, will be canceled because of COVID-19.
  • Instead, the conference will take place digitally, the Consumer Technology Association announced.
  • The cancellation of CES and other major conference will likely have a big impact on Las Vegas’ tourism industry. More than 171,000 people attended CES in 2020.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

CES, the largest tech conference of the year, will be canceled in 2021 and not held in its usual Las Vegas, the Consumer Technology Association announced on Tuesday, citing the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the event will be held digitally.

“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,” the CTA said in a statement.

The CTA says it still plans to hold keynotes, conferences, product showcases, meetings, and networking events digitally. The show will return to Las Vegas in 2022.

The announcement also comes just after the CTA said in June that it still planned to host physical events for CES in January 2021. 

CES is among the largest tech conferences of the year, where tech companies from around the world gather to show off new products and technologies. The show began in 1967 in New York City with just 17,500 attendees and 250 exhibitors. In 2020, CES attracted 171,268 visitors and 4,419 exhibiting companies, according to the CTA.

Companies such as Samsung, Sony, and LG are usually among the most high-profile attendees, with flashy demonstrations and massive booths that often feel like their own miniature showroom floors within the Las Vegas Convention Center.

With more than 171,000 attendees, it’s unclear what the ramifications of the cancellation will be for Las Vegas’ economy. Beyond CES, Las Vegas has become a hub for conferences across many industries, and concerns had surfaced about the impact that cancelled events would have on its economy even back in March. In 2019, 6.6 million people traveled to Las Vegas to attend conventions, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. 

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