The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the host of the Vegas party known as CES, reported that their unaudited attendance for the trade show was about 110,000 people. The 2009 numbers are down from an audited 141,000 in 2008. The CES was saying to exhibitors that the show was only down about eight percent as part of the pitch to get companies to commit to their booths for 2010 before they left sin city. Considering the tumultuous economic climate in the economy, I would bet that selling 2010 booth space was a pretty tough pitch - not that companies won't ultimately buy in. They all seem to have a "wait and see" outlook on business going forward.
The 110,000 attendee number is likely to change in 90 days because of an internal audit done by the CEA. Last year, the CEA added over 10,000 attendees to their totals when all was said and done. No matter what CES is one gigantic trade show and while there was no Earth-shattering news from the show like last years "Blu-Friday" headlines, the show was much more manageable lacking the two hour taxi lines at various hotels and show locations.
The business theme right before CES had brightened in terms of mood as companies who know they aren't going out of business made some moves to add key players and jockey for marketshare in 2009 as that marketshare seems to be theme for the coming year. With some many companies paralyzed with fear - others are starting to think with Gordon Gecko style greed and as we know in this case (unlike say Bernie Madoff) greed is good. Greed is what drives companies to innovate and grow. There are signs that specialty AV companies are getting back to this core business value in early 2009.