CES in 2011 was likely biggest in three years, says CEA

Consumer Electronics Show show attracts some 140,000; easily surpasses pre-show estimates

This year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas attracted around 140,000 people, easily surpassing pre-show attendance estimates and beating the two prior events, the event's organizers said late Sunday.

The Consumer Electronics Association had estimated that around 126,000 people would turn up for the four-day gadget fest -- a figure that would have been in line with 2010's attendance of 126,641 and well above 2009's 113,085.

But at around 140,000, attendance was closer to 2008's pre-recession level of 141,150 people. The CEA typically releases audited attendance figures in May.

The CEA's announcement likely wasn't a surprise for anyone who attended the event in Las Vegas. Attendees faced long lines for taxis and the city's monorail throughout the convention -- an unofficial sign that attendance had rebounded.

Organizers also announced a schedule change to the CES schedule for 2012; they said next year's show will run from Tuesday through Friday, Jan. 10 to 13.

The change might help keep attendees in town for the third and fourth days of the show. Many typically leave on Friday or Saturday, which means the show floor is mostly vacant on Sunday. This year, the Consumer Electronics Association attempted to boost crowds and raise money by offering individuals the chance to attend the show on Sunday if they became a CEA Tech Enthusiast member for $49.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for the IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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