Nearly three years removed from onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials with the annual tech industry event CES hope the event looks more like pre-pandemic times. Organizers say their goal is to draw 100,000 attendees for the event. Media previews start Tuesday and Wednesday in Las Vegas, with the show opening Thursday and continuing through Sunday.
“I think CES is definitely one of those conferences that has lost some of its luster as a result of COVID,” Moor Insights and Strategy Principal Analyst Anshel Sag said Sunday. “But I would also say that it’s one of those shows that really can’t go away because there really isn’t a place where so many people from so many different places in the industry are able to find each other and meet with each other.”
2021’s edition of CES was virtual. Last year’s event was in person, though in-person attendance was down 70% due to the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. 100,000 attendees at 2023’s event would still mark a 41% drop compared to 2020’s show, which took place just months before the pandemic began.
While CES attendance dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sag said it actually boosted “a lot of” tech companies, calling them “overvalued.”
“When you look at what happened during COVID, their needs and their ability to deliver technology were increased significantly during COVID,” Sag said. “There were some shortages and things like that, but it ultimately drove extremely high profitability.”
Sag added that the pandemic is likely to have a long-term effect on technology production in the future.
“More people are working hybrid, more people are working from home than ever have been. And it’s going to change… the dynamic within the office and it’s going to change how people are productive and how they collaborate,” Sag said. “I think those trends will drive how technology companies choose to implement technologies and what innovations they push forward.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.