CES 2009 Shrinks with Dwindling Economy

Dennis Faas's picture

The bad news continues for the tech industry. Not long after we first heard murmurs Microsoft may be ready to lay off as much as 17 per cent of its workforce, the popular Consumer Electronics Show, held every year in dazzling Las Vegas, is rumored to be shrinking alongside the global economy.

The Consumer Electronics Association, host of the CES, estimates that both the number of exhibitors and visitors will be down in 2009. The CEA expects about 130,000 people will attend its famous electronics show, down 11,000 from last year. In addition, only about 2,700 exhibitors are expected to attend, down from 3,000 in 2008.

The best evidence of the decline? Hotel rooms, traditionally booked solid throughout Las Vegas for the January 9-11 weekend, can still be found.

Size may not be the only change to the popular show. Industry insiders expect that the entire focus of the event may change dramatically, given the circumstances. NPD analyst Stephen Baker recently remarked, "the emphasis maybe shifts from cool and neat to how do you make things work better." (Source: reuters.com)

In other words, companies planning exhibits may be just as interested in making sales and business connections as they are in showing off their newest and most exciting products. "Companies are looking to do business at the show that they would otherwise do with individual customer visits," said CES rep Jason Oxman.

So, what can we expect at a slimmed-down CES?

Experts predict that the stars of this show may be netbooks -- cheaper, smaller versions of the popular laptop. Even though most desktop and notebook sales have halted in recent months, these $300 to $400 bargain devices have risen dramatically in popularity. Industry insiders IDC expect that sales of these compact laptops could increase as much as 85 per cent -- to 21 million in total -- in 2009. The excitement surrounding netbooks represents a saving grace for many tech companies as the price of owning a portable PC continues to drop. Some even estimate that a sub-$200 netbook could be available before the end of next year.

Thus, CES' focus in 2009 (and perhaps for several years afterwards) may shift from the ultra-flat and ultra-expensive television to the ultra-cheap and portable PC (so as to make moving to new and less expensive living quarters easier, perhaps!). (Source: mercurynews.com)

| Tags:
Rate this article: 
No votes yet