CES attendance back up in 2011

Two years after a steep drop-off in attendance, visitors to the show this year turned out in numbers close to the high of 2008.

With CES in full swing Thursday and Friday, most of the booths were packed all day with crowds watching demos.
With CES in full swing Thursday and Friday, most of the booths were packed all day with crowds watching demos. James Martin/CNET

Booths were crowded, taxi lines were annoyingly long, and it was near impossible to make a cell phone call in Las Vegas last week, all anecdotal evidence pointing to a well-attended CES 2011.

Today we have hard data that proves attendance at the world's largest gadget trade show is creeping back up. The Consumer Electronics Association released its initial figures on headcount for this year's show, and the numbers are indeed up: CES 2011 saw more than 140,000 attendees flooding the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

There will be an official audit this spring, but the preliminary numbers reveal that last week's show was the best attended CES since 141,000 people descended on Vegas in 2008. There were just110,000 in 2009, and 120,000 last year.

Of the 140,000 at this year's show, the CEA says 30,000 of those were representing 80 countries outside the United States, a record.

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