The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), long the world’s largest tech trade show, will be all-digital in January 2021, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) announced on Monday. The CTA cited the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about the spread of the virus as its reasoning for canceling the in-person event
CES usually takes place in Las Vegas and involves many large gatherings in tightly packed convention halls, as well as smaller meetings between retailers, manufacturers, and other industry professionals.
Per the CTA, the digital CES will be a “new immersive experience.” The organization did not provide many details about what the online event will look like, but it claims it will be “highly personalized.” The organization still plans to hold CES 2022 in Las Vegas.
As recently as May, the CTA was planning to hold CES 2021 in person, with companies having the option to exhibit digitally. At that point, a number of large conferences scheduled for 2020 had already been canceled, postponed, or moved online, including Blizzard’s BlizzCon, E3, Facebook’s F8, Google’s I/O, SXSW, Game Developers Conference, and all of Microsoft’s conferences (including its Ignite and Inspire events).
The GSM Association’s Mobile World Congress, originally scheduled for February, was one of the first large tech conventions to cancel due to COVID-19 concerns. The GSMA maintained that the show would proceed in-person for over a week after a slew of large exhibitors pulled out.
Update July 28th 12:45PM ET: The article has been updated with more context around other conferences that have been canceled in recent months due to COVID-19.