CES has announced today that it will be going all-digital for its 2021 show. While the idea of an in-person CES for January baffled many amid the pandemic, the organization was previously shooting to hold the event like normal.

Back in March, CES had announced January 6-9 for the 2021 electronics show with no mention of a change from the normal event that brings in almost 200,000 people to Las Vegas. As you can imagine, the tweet that shared the news quickly got lots of feedback that the event shouldn’t go on normally.

Over the last few weeks, CES sent out emails asking for feedback from those in the industry about the plans and today the organization announced the move to an all-digital experience for the 2021 show in a press release and video from CEO Gary Shapiro:

“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,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “Technology helps us all work, learn and connect during the pandemic – and that innovation will also help us reimagine CES 2021 and bring together the tech community in a meaningful way. By shifting to an all-digital platform for 2021, we can deliver a unique experience that helps our exhibitors connect with existing and new audiences.”

Funny enough, while Shapiro mentions “tens of thousands” of people heading to the event, CES 2020 had a reported 182,000 attendees — coming from all over the world. With the pivot to an all-digital event, CES 2021 is still slated for January 6-9.

While shifting to an all-digital CES will certainly have a negative financial impact in many ways, it’s an important change for next year considering the global health and safety concerns.

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