The weakening economy is taking its toll on the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, with the number of exhibitors and expected visitors down on last year.
The organisers are reporting that 2,700 companies will be showcasing their wares this year, down from 3,000 in 2008. Visitor numbers are also expected to be down to 130,000, compared to over 141,000 last year.
"We are expecting things to be much quieter," a representative of a major chip manufacturer, who asked not to be named, told vnunet.com.
"There will be less people coming but we are also expecting fewer deals to get done. There will be a lot of people looking, but less of them will be putting their hands in their pockets."
CES is billed as the largest electronics show of the year and is an unmissable event for many companies. Larger companies are still attending - Microsoft's Steve Ballmer led the keynote programme - but smaller companies are staying away in larger numbers.
Nevertheless, the organisers are confident that the show will remain relevant. Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association, said: "In this challenging economy, our industry knows that CES is more important than ever to grow business.
"In tough economic times, tradeshows make the most business sense and CES is the must-attend event of the year for our industry."
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