The facts and figures behind 50 years of CES

CES 2017 is here - let’s take a look at some of the facts, figures and best moments from the world’s biggest consumer tech event.

4th January 2017
The facts and figures behind 50 years of CES © CES

Every year, thousands of people descend upon the Nevada desert to visit the USA’s casino capital, but they aren’t here for the Sun and slot machines, they’re after one thing – future technology.

Run by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), CES is a huge event filled with the latest gadgets, biggest tech companies and is the place to be seen if you want to show off your products to the public. But it wasn’t always so big, and it wasn’t always in Las Vegas. Here are some fast facts to get you up to speed:

  • Between 2012 and 2016, CES startups raised more than $1 billion in funds
  • If you visited every day of every show, you would have spent 284 days at CES
  • During CES 2016, the hashtag #CES2016 was tweeted 1.2 million times – that’s 6.5 tweets a second!
  • The first CES was a spinoff from the Chicago Music Show
  • More than 3,800 companies exhibit at CES
  • The first CES was held in New York, with 17,500 attendees visiting 117 exhibitors
1967 CES floor © CES
1967 CES floor © CES
  • CES attracts more than 165,000 people a year, nearly enough to fill Wembley Stadium twice
  • Media bods like us at Science Focus make up around one third of the total attendees, meaning there is little chance you’ll miss any of the amazing future technology on show
  • The consumer tech industry was worth $3.8 billion in 1967, but the CTA now reckons in 2016 it was worth a huge $224 billion
  • CES exhibition space covers more than 230,000 square metres, enough to cover 32 football pitches
  • A trip to the US on business can seem like a chore, but the over 3.4 billion miles of business travel saved by attendees is as much as 36 trips to the Sun and back
  • In 2005 Bill Gates gave the keynote address about Windows Media Center – it didn’t end well…

  • In 2008 Bill Gates was back on stage to announce his retirement from running Microsoft – that fared a little better

  • CES are also pretty good at recycling, the 1,200 square metres of vinyl, mesh and fabric used are repurposed to make movie screens and hockey rink liners
Welcome to Las Vegas ©
Welcome to Las Vegas!
  • CES used to be held twice a year, in winter and summer, and moved cities, before finally settling in Las Vegas in 1998
  • CES is the world’s largest consumer tech event, and is run by the Consumer Tech Association (CTA)
  • It takes 18 days to set up, run and take down
  • The 2008 global crash was attributed to the 22 per cent reduction in attendees to CES 2009
  • A huge amount of major tech has been announced at CES, from VCR to MiniDisc, Atari Pong to the Xbox. Who knows what will turn up at CES this year
Sony TPS © CES
Sony TPS © CES


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