CES 2022 wraps up Friday, with the Consumer Technology Association boasting of 40,000 attendees and 2,300 exhibitors while also offering a digital experience for attendees who did not travel to Las Vegas amid COVID-19 concerns and the spike of the omicron variant.
The number is a far cry from 2019, in which upwards of 180,000 attendees filled the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show's Friday conclusion is a day earlier than originally scheduled, implemented as a safety measure after several larger companies such as Microsoft, Google, AMD and Intel canceled or modified their in-person plans.
The CTA also touted that 30% of show's attendees traveled internationally from 190 countries. The CTA earlier had announced that attendees traveling from overseas to attend CES would receive complimentary PCR testing as needed to return home, and all in-person attendees received self-testing kits at badge pickup.
Several in-person attendees noted the smaller footprint and attendance numbers at the convention center, posting photos of CES halls that were normally filled with more attendees and exhibitors:
The show otherwise was still filled with announcements and reveals, but for many major exhibitors the event was strictly virtual. In the two weeks leading up to CES 2022, companies announced their pivot to virtual-only plans, which began with T-Mobile. Amid the dropouts, the CTA said that 143 new companies signed up to be at the in-person event over the same period of time.
A statement from Mercedes, which dropped out on Dec. 29, reflects the views of many other companies that held exclusively digital CES events.
"As the health and safety of our customers, partners, employees and guests are our highest priority, in view of the current situation in connection with the COVID-19 virus, we've therefore decided to cancel Mercedes-Benz AG's participation in CES 2022, after intensive consultations," a spokesperson for the carmaker said in a statement.
We've listed out many of the companies that swapped to an all-virtual or modified CES plan, along with their related statements here:
- GfK North America: On Dec. 30, research firm GfK North America announced it was transitioning its automotive tech presentation into a virtual event. "Acting on growing concerns over employee health, GfK will not present in person at CES 2022 in Las Vegas," the company said in a press release.
- Mercedes-Benz: The automaker announced on Dec. 29 that it is canceling its physical presence.
- Panasonic: Panasonic has shifted its press conference into a virtual event while keeping a "modified physical footprint, with limited on-site staff," announced CEO Megan Myungwon Lee on Dec. 29.
- Magna: "Magna's leadership has decided to withdraw from CES 2022 and cancel the press conference on Jan. 5," said a spokesperson for the auto parts-maker via email. The company also tweeted its decision on Dec. 29.
- AMD: "After careful deliberation, AMD has decided to cancel our in-person presence at CES 2022 in Las Vegas and will instead transition to a virtual experience. While the AMD 2022 Product Premiere was always planned as a digital-only livestream, our in-person engagements will now transition to virtual in the best interest of the health and safety of our employees, partners and communities," AMD said in a statement on Dec. 28. The company still plans to hold its scheduled announcements on Jan. 4 as part of its digital-only plans.
- OnePlus: The phone maker previously planned only an unofficial presence in Las Vegas. But CNET confirmed on Dec. 28 that the company is scrapping its in-person plans, regardless. The news was reported earlier by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. OnePlus was rumored to be debuting the OnePlus 10 Pro phone at the show, and CEO Pete Lau teased last week on the Weibo social network that the phone's reveal will be coming in January.
- Brunswick: The recreational marine company announced Dec. 28 that it shifted its plans to virtual.
- Microsoft: "The health and well-being of our employees is our ultimate priority. After reviewing the latest data on the rapidly evolving COVID environment, Microsoft has decided not to participate in-person at CES 2022," the company said in a statement emailed late on Dec. 24. Microsoft said it will join the show virtually.
- Google and Waymo: "We've been closely monitoring the development of the omicron variant, and have decided that this is the best choice for the health and safety of our teams," a Google spokesperson said. Alphabet-owned Waymo, which focuses on self-driving cars, made a similar statement on Dec. 23.
- GM: The company will not send employees or executives to the show, Reuters reported on Dec. 23. CEO Mary Barra will deliver her keynote speech online.
- Intel: The chipmaker said that it will scale down its presence. "After consulting with health officials and in the spirit of Intel's safety policy, our plans for CES will move to a digital-first, live experience, with minimal on-site staff," Intel said on Dec. 23.
- Lenovo: "After closely monitoring the current surrounding COVID-19, it is in the best interest of the health and safety of our employees, customers, partners, and our communities to suspend all on-site activity in Las Vegas," the company announced via Twitter on Dec. 23.
- TikTok: "In light of the increase in positive COVID-19 cases across the country, TikTok has decided to host a virtual TikTok CES experience for our brands and partners," the company said Dec. 22.
- AT&T: "The health and safety of our employees and customers is a top priority, so we have decided to forgo in-person participation at CES 2022," a spokesperson said Dec. 22.
- Meta: "Out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees, we won't be attending CES in-person due to the evolving public health concerns related to COVID-19," the company said Dec. 21.
- Twitter: "The safety and health of our people and our partners are our No. 1 priority. With that in mind, due to the spike in COVID-19 cases across the country in the past week, we've decided to cancel our in-person presence at CES next month," the company said Dec. 21.
- Amazon and Ring: "Due to the quickly shifting situation and uncertainty around the omicron variant, we will no longer have an on-site presence at CES," Amazon said Dec. 21. A spokesperson for Ring, Amazon's home security subsidiary, issued an identical statement.
- Pinterest: The company announced its change of plans on Dec. 21.
- Nvidia: The company has been "cautious from the start" and is set to deliver a virtual address on Jan. 4 at 8 a.m. PT, a spokesperson said on Dec. 21.
- T-Mobile: The "vast majority" of its team won't head to Vegas, though the company will remain a sponsor. "We are prioritizing the safety of our team and other attendees with this decision," the carrier said in a statement on Dec 21. "T-Mobile's entire team looks forward to an in-person CES 2023, which we hope includes an onstage keynote in front of a live audience."
Many of the companies that modified their plans kept their product reveals and livestreams, several of which can be replayed on CNET's main YouTube channel and the CNET Highlights channel.
CNET editors hosted pre- and postshow commentary around the LG, Hyundai, Samsung and GM press conferences, all of which can be viewed below. The LG livestream from Tuesday is here:
The Hyundai livestream is here:
Samsung's press conference can be replayed here:
And Wednesday's GM event is here:
Over on the CNET Highlights channel, you can replay several other CES press conference livestreams without the additional commentary. Here is the list of the livestreams you can find, and to replay just click on the corresponding link.
- Beyond Imagination
- Indy Autonomous Racing Challenge
You'll also find other CNET video coverage from CES 2022 on our website and YouTube channel.