Tech

The biggest U.S. tech show of the year, which drew over 171,000 people in 2020, will be digital-only in 2021

Key Points
  • The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) announced on Tuesday that CES 2021 will be a digital-only event due to ongoing concerns about the spread of coronavirus.
  • CES 2020 drew in 171,268 attendees from all over the world.
  • "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," CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro said.
A virtual reality trainer assists a representative in exercising using GEMS, Gait Enhancing and Motivation System, during a Samsung press event for CES 2020 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on January 6, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
David Becker | Getty Images

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) announced on Tuesday that CES 2021 will be a digital-only event due to ongoing concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

CES is the biggest tech show of the year, and it's where major companies like LG, Samsung and others, often show off new products ranging from televisions to refrigerators. Big Tech companies such as Microsoft, Amazon and Google often use the show to talk about existing products that have been introduced recently at standalone events.

While it might not have a huge effect on the companies that showcase at CES — they'll still be able to announce products online, after all — it will hurt the Las Vegas economy.

CES 2020, for example, drew in 171,268 attendees from all over the world. During the typically week-long event, those people stay in Las Vegas hotels, eat in restaurants and gamble in the casinos. Tens of thousands of casino workers have been furloughed and may face permanent cuts, according to reports.

"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," CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro said.

The CTA said it plans to return to an in-person show in 2022.

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2021 CES will be an all-digital gathering