LAS VEGAS - In a time of war and recession, the consumer electronics industry and International CES have a lot to be thankful for. That was the basic message of Consumer Electronics Association president & CEO Gary Shapiro during his opening day keynote speech.
On CES, Shapiro said that it is "important on many levels. For one, it is our industry's showcase to the world. It kicks off our year and 2002 promises to be a year of both challenge and promise. We face the challenges of a tough economy and tough issues."
He thanked everyone for attending the show, remarking, "If we learned one thing after September 11, it is that relationships are important. We need to meet face-to-face. and build a relationship."
Last fall CEA received calls about whether CES would be held. When the group's market research organization, eBrain, surveyed business travelers about their travel intentions they found out that "66 percent are more likely to travel of a trade show is being held."
Another lesson that September 11 taught everyone was that "people used our products to learn about unfolding events and to contact friends and loved ones. It may be fair to say that in 2001, almost every consumer electronics product became less of a luxury and more of a necessity."
Shapiro reminded his audience of CEA's solitary, and accurate, prediction in October of "strong holiday buying helped our industry end 2001 on an upswing and provided momentum for 2002. CEA continues to believe that our industry has every reason to remain cautiously optimistic."
He added, "Despite the bumps and bruises, the industry had a good year, especially when it came to new technologies." (See chart on p. 142 for a full breakdown of category by category factory sales from CEA.)
And despite the "bumps and bruises" of trying to run a major trade show during a war and recession where other trade shows are losing size, Shapiro was proud to report that CES has grown. CES "is now twice the size of any other American technology trade show and we've become the world's biggest and most important showcase for consumer technology."
One of the crowing jewels of this year's show is the long-awaited opening of the new South Hall. "Several years ago we asked Las Vegas to expand the convention center so we could help our attendees travel all over town. This two-story hall can easily accommodate the Navy's largest aircraft carrier. [and] is 48 football fields big."
Shapiro said that among the other highlights of 2003 International CES are:
· "We have the CEO of every major cable company and the leaders of the broadcasting, satellite, motion picture, video game, Internet and computer worlds attending, speaking or exhibiting."
· 33 related industry associations are hosting meetings or attending the show.
· 80 government policy makers are attending CES and many of whom will visit the Riviera Hotel to see 70 exhibitors displaying the latest in security-oriented technology.
And Shapiro closed his speech with the new of CEA merger with the Home Automation and Networking Association (HANA) and CEA's agreement with the producers of CeBIT, to produce CeBIT CES Consumer Electronics Show in Shanghai, China May 29 to June 1. (See www.TWICE.com or TWICE CES Daily, January 8, p. 6 for full story.) CEA worked with its partner, the Electronic Industries Alliance, to establish the Permanent Normalized Trade Relations with China. Its acceptance into the WTO will make it an even better place to build and sell consumer products."