CES exhibit floor grows in size but not in global reach

11 January 2015 by Steve Blum
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The eyes of the world.

The Consumer Electronics Associations warns journalists that it produces a global technology event called International CES and that none should dare speak the name Consumer Electronics Show. The problem is, it’s still a consumer electronics show and it’s still noticeably weak on the global, if not International bits. At least where exhibitors are concerned.

African and South American participation is painfully slim. South Africa-based Geco Action Cam – was the only representative from that continent: same count as last year and down from 2 in 2013. A pair of Brazilian companies exhibited. They represented the entire bona fide South American delegation. Still, that’s double last year’s figure.

India is up slightly, with 7 exhibits this year against 6 last year. But that compares to 10 in 2013. At a trade show with more than 3,600 exhibitors – a record, CEA says – the difference is insignificant.

Only 20 companies from the ASEAN region were on the CES floor this year, versus 18 in 2014 and 23 in 2013. And most of those are from Singapore – 15 this year, a gain of 1 from last year. Thailand sent 3, and the Philippines and Vietnam sent 1 each. Even though a large and growing share of the world’s electronic devices are being made in ASEAN countries, companies and brands based there are not climbing the value chain. At least not as far as Las Vegas.

CES attendees come from nearly every nation on the planet – more than a quarter of the 170,000 registered were from somewhere other than the U.S. But they come to buy from east asian, north american and european companies. If CEA wants to truly be a global technology event, it needs to figure out how to get them to come and sell, too.