The Surprising Good News from CES 2022

Last week, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) returned to the show floor in the Las Vegas Convention Center with some encouraging results.
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There are a lot of reasons to be thankful for CES following through with their face-to-face event. 

While no two conventions are alike, CES has often been an indicator for how the rest of the year’s largest trade shows might perform. For example, last year CES ran its entire event virtually. Following this approach, the rest of 2021 witnessed historically large and energetic business events move online or, at the very least, include a significant amount of digital additions, such as a greater emphasis on streaming and virtual tours. 

There are exceptions, of course, the most prominent one being Bitcoin 2021. But on the whole, CES is a good indicator for how the rest of the year may pan out for other large trade show gatherings. And based on how this year’s show went, there is some surprising good news for 2022. 

Businesses and Clients are Ready for Reunion

The fact that businesses and clients were willing to jump through all the hoops (i.e. showing proof of vaccination, wearing a mask indoors, and potentially testing on-site) to attend in-person demonstrates a strong desire for live events. 

It’s also worth noting that, with all these new steps in place, safety is not a reason why people attend events, but is now a prerequisite for attending. It’s highly likely that we will see other large event management shows incorporate some of the same precautions implemented at CES.   

People Attending are Spending

Attendance was a quarter of 2020’s attendance levels, coming in just north of 45,000. And attendance is expected to remain below average across the board until 2024. However, there are plenty of shows that might indicate otherwise in January, such as the Professional Convention Managers Association (which is reporting up to 60% of pre-covid attendance), SHOT show, and World of Concrete. 

The biggest takeaway from low attendance is NOT less opportunity. In addition to the low number of attendees, there were lower numbers of businesses–meaning less competition. The overwhelming testimony from businesses that attended CES is that they are seeing a rise in the quality of attendees. In other words, people willing to take the risk to attend business events are willing to take a risk with their wallets and make purchases. 

Small Business are Taking Center Stage 

Big Tech has decided to sit things out. Massive corporations like Amazon, Apple, and others, which normally cast a disproportionately large shadow over CES, opted to stay home this year. As a result, an unmitigated opportunity appeared for small to mid-size corporations to take center stage. Hear what Richard Browning, chief marketing and sales officer of Nextbase IQ, had to say after the event here

Elsewhere on the blog we’ve written why startups should attend trade shows. Well, there is no better time now that the A-listers have exited the stage.  

Seeing the Silver Lining is Necessary for Detecting Opportunities

Facing the realities of today’s changing business landscape and keeping spirits high is necessary for adapting effectively. New priorities are emerging as data arrives about consumer’s behavioral shifts, the efficacy of cross-channel operations, and the new developing professional personas. 

If you are looking to adapt to the changing landscape, our team at The Trade Group are experts in strategic marketing for trade shows and brand activations. Give us a call at 972-734-8585 or contact us here to learn more about the exhibit design, interactive experiences, and services available at The Trade Group.

Cameron Wilkinson is a writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. His writing for the events industry pairs with his interests in sales and marketing. He also holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of North Texas.

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