Meet "Kevin the Sad PR Guy," Our 2009 Booth Babe
Our industry is the one that this going to get the economy through this recession.
— Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association
The International Consumer Electronics Show will kick off next week shrouded in a nimbus of recessionary gloom. Show attendance is expected to be down eight percent this year, according to Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, who expects 130,000 attendees to flood the convention–11,000 fewer than last year. The show floor itself will be slightly diminished as well. CES exhibitor booths required 1.8 million square feet in 2008. In 2009, they’ll take up 1.7 million, presumably thanks to the absence of Seagate (STX), Logitech (LOGI), Cisco (CSCO), Philips (PHG), Yahoo (YHOO) and Sanyo–all of which have abandoned plans to exhibit on the show floor. That said, the overall number of exhibitors will remain the same as last year, at about 2,700.
So the show will be a bit smaller and a bit less clamorous than in years past. Likely a bit more sober as well, given this rough retail year. Quite a change from the extravagance of years past, but not without a certain upside. “This is the bleakest CES in 30 years going in,” said Envisioneering Group analyst Richard Doherty. “[Some exhibitors] will be spending more of their time off the show floor. We may now be able to get between the Venetian and the convention in less than an hour.”