Consumer Electronics Show breaks record with 153,000 attendees

The 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show was the biggest such event in the show’s 44-year history, with more than 153,000 attendees, up from 149,000 a year ago.

The show drew 3,100 exhibitors across 1.861 million square feet of space. The show drew more than 34,000 international attendees and 20,000 product launches.

The show attracted executives from business, government, entertainment, automotive, consumer electronics and every major industry. And so it should, as it is the biggest trade show for the $1 trillion electronics industry.

The organization behind the show, the Consumer Electronics Association, headed by chief executive Gary Shapiro (pictured right), is now reviewing requests for 2013 CES keynotes. The group has to replace Microsoft’s opening keynote speaker slot, as the company is giving it up after this year.

The CEA said that 95,000 square feet of exhibit space in the iLounge Pavilion (for Apple products) has already sold for next year. Among those committed to floor space are car makers Mazda, BMW, Ford, Kia and Hyundai.

Hot trends at this year’s show included Ultrabooks, OLED TVs, Android 4.0 tablets, next-generation smartphones and 3D printers. Celebrities who attended included Eliza Dushku, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Ludacris, 50 Cent, Wil.i.am, Wayne Brady, Jillian Michaels, LL Cool J, Ryan Seacrest, Will Smith and Kelly Clarkson. For the geeks among us, that means technology is cool.

Technology innovations generated excitement across the 2012 CES showfloor. Dozens of ultrabooks, OLED TVs, Android 4.0 tablets, next generation smartphones and 3D printers were launched. Reporters wrote thousands of articles about the products.

Among the dignitaries who visited were FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) and FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Robert M. McDowell. Government officials from Canada, Columbia, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Korea, Lebanon and Oman also attended.

Next year, the show will be Jan. 8-11, 2013, in Las Vegas. Audited figures will be out this spring. Microsoft won’t be on the show floor, but you can bet it’s going to be crowded again. In an interview last week with VentureBeat, Shapiro said, “The show is doing phenomenally well. We’re at or near our record in attendance and footprint. We have been approached by all sorts of companies that want to do the opening keynote. We will decide in time.”

“There is no questions that the speed of the introduction of electronics has changed,” Shapiro said. “But a show forces companies to meet a deadline. We give people a reason to get things done. The show is also a five-senses experience, where you can see and hear everything. And face to face meetings still work the best. These are reasons why more than 150,000 people still come to the show.