December 27, 2021
After a flurry of high-profile exhibitors such as Google, Microsoft, Meta (Facebook), Intel and TikTok dropped out of CES 2022 last week over Omicron variant concerns, show organizers nevertheless vowed to press on with an in-person event in Las Vegas.
In a press release issued three days before Christmas, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) reiterated its intent to proceed with the show, scheduled for Jan. 5-8 in Las Vegas, despite what it said were 42 exhibitor cancellations.
Since then, there’s been no further communication from the CTA, leading to widespread speculation that plans are still in flux. The latest daily email briefing from VPO/PR Newswire’s dedicated online press page for CES, issued late Sunday, Dec. 26, had just two press releases from exhibitors. And on social media, particularly Twitter, calls for the CTA to cancel the show appear to be mounting, with #cancelCES an increasingly popular hashtag.
In a Dec. 22 news release, CTA said the show will proceed as scheduled “with strong safety measures in place, and our digital access is also available for people that don’t wish to, or can’t travel to Las Vegas. Our mission remains to convene the industry and give those who cannot attend in person the ability to experience the magic of CES digitally.
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“While we recently received 42 exhibitor cancelations (less than 7% of our exhibit floor), since last Friday we’ve added 60 new exhibitors for our in person event. Registrations for both our digital access and our Las Vegas event are continuing to show strong momentum, with thousands more registrations in the last few days. … We have increased our official count to over 2,200 exhibitors. …
“Given CES’s comprehensive health measures — vaccination requirement, masking and availability of COVID-19 tests — coupled with lower attendance and social distancing measures, we are confident that attendees and exhibitors can have a socially distanced but worthwhile and productive event in Las Vegas, as well as a rewarding experience on our digital access.”
CES went virtual in January 2021, but as a winter COVID-19 surge began to ebb and movie theaters and other businesses began to reopen, the CTA on April 28 announced CES 2022 would once again be held in person in Las Vegas in January 2022.
At the time, CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro said in a statement, “We’re thrilled to return to Las Vegas — home to CES for more than 40 years — and look forward to seeing many new and returning faces. Hundreds of executives have told us how much they need CES to meet new and existing customers, find partners, reach media and discover innovation.”
Several media outlets, including TechCrunch and The Verge, also have said they will not send reporters to the show. Media Play News editors still plan on attending.
Organizers of the Pepcom Digital Experience, held in concert with CES at the Mirage hotel, announced they are also still planning an in-person event — though they plan to add a live-streaming presentation.
“Happily, most of you have told us you can still attend,” read an email. “But for those who cannot, we will be streaming the event live from 7-10 p.m. PT on Jan. 4.”