The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which opened on Thursday in Las Vegas, is expected to draw more exhibitors as the economy is recovering from the worst crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The Consumer Electronics Association, which is hosting the CES, predicted around 2,500 to 2,700 exhibitors at this year's show, with more than 330 of them appearing for the first time in the event, believed to be the world's largest consumer technology trade show.
"With a record number of new exhibitors, scores of new product introductions, several new spotlights of the show floor and a dynamic lineup of keynotes sessions, the 2010 International CES will be our best show," said Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the CES.
According to the show organizer, about 110,000 attendees will come for the four-day show, a drop from 113,000 attendees last year. The show hit its peak attendance of 152,000 in 2006.
"We knew we would shrink, but the standard for tech trade show is to be down 20 percent to 30 percent," said Mr. Shapiro. "We will be down less than that."
"The strategy will be for a more dense show that is also more convenient. Despite that is still a very fragile economy, we have a show that is comparable to last year's. It gives me hope in the U.S. economy," he explained.
The 2010 show will feature 20 market-specific TechZones highlighting trends and emerging markets, more than in the previous shows.
Apple will be the focus of the iLounge, which will feature products and technologies for the iPod, iPhone and Mac. The iLounge was expected to take up 4,000 square feet when first planned, but demand from exhibitors led to an expansion to 25,000 square feet.
In-car technology will have a major presence at this year's trade show, as that area of the tech business is expected to rev up more than 9.3 billion dollars in sales last year.
New CES TechZones include eBooks, Experience 3D, Femto, Lifestyle Gadgets, Mobile DTV and Netbooks.
Most major consumer electronics giants from LG to Sony will be at the event, but Mr. Shapiro said there is likely bigger representation of smaller companies.
More than 250 sessions will take place during the show, and 800 expert speakers will be featured, including new-media executives from CBS, Hulu, Sony Pictures Technologies and YouTube.
The top speakers this year are Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, Paul Otellini of Intel, Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo of Nokia, Alan Mulally of Ford, and Zhou Houjian of China's Hisense. Mr. Zhou is the first keynote speaker from China in the show’s history.
Hit by the financial crisis, U.S. sales of electronics and appliances fell almost 27 percent from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 in 2008, according to SpendingPulse, a division of MasterCard Advisors, though appliances probably saw a greater decline than electronics.
During the same period in 2009, the sales of electronics and appliances in the United States increased 5.9 percent.
"We've turned the corner," Jason Oxman, senior vice president of the Consumer Electronics Association, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
"Looking into 2010, we expect a strong show because companies exhibiting in the CES recognize that consumers in 2010 are going to be feeling better about their ability to buy their products," he predicted.