July 28, 2020 / 2:18 PM / 17 days ago

Global tech show CES in Las Vegas to be only online in 2021 due to COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Attendees fill the lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center during the 2020 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo

(Reuters) - CES, the biggest global tech and gadget show, held every January in Las Vegas, will be only online in 2021 due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, organizer Consumer Technology Association said on Tuesday.

While big tech companies like Apple (AAPL.O), Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O) and Samsung (005930.KS) have separate product launch events and companies launching electronic gadgets at CES have generally been smaller, the event has been an important venue for technology companies and buyers to meet to conduct business .

CES is the biggest annual event in Las Vegas and cancellation will be a blow to the city, where hotel prices soar and roads clog with traffic during the event. According to the CTA, CES 2020 had an estimated 170,000 attendees, including 60,000 international attendees.

Gary Shapiro, chief executive of CTA, said the decision was made now to give companies and partners in Las Vegas time to plan ahead. “We don’t think there’s a vaccine that will be available and safe and tested that people are comfortable with by January,” he said.

Pricing for the online CES hasn’t been decided yet, Shapiro said. Tickets for CES this year ranged from $300 to $1,700.

The digital CES event is scheduled for Jan. 6-9.

Reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee; Editing by Leslie Adler

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