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CES gadget show turnout falls more than 70% thanks to COVID

Attendance at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas fell more than 70% compared to its previous in-person event two years ago, its organizer said Saturday.

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The Consumer Technology Association said that more than 45,000 people attended the multi-day event on the Las Vegas Strip that ended Friday. More than 170,000 were there for the 2020 convention. The latest numbers updated figures the CTA released Friday, which showed that 2022 attendance was greater than 40,000 people.

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A BMW iX Flow with color-shifting material is displayed during CES 2022 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 6, 2022. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (REUTERS/Steve Marcus / Reuters Photos)

The COVID-19 pandemic led the CTA to take 2021′s conference online, but the trade group decided eight months ago to bring a physical CES 2022 back to Vegas. That proved challenging amid a global spike in infections caused by the fast-moving omicron coronavirus variant that emerged late last year.

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Conference attendees were required to wear masks on the exhibition floors that opened Wednesday and show proof of vaccination before they arrived. But the rise in COVID-19 cases led a number of big tech companies to pull out of the conference in the weeks before the event.

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