Organisers of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) reversed an earlier decision to press ahead with an in-person conference in 2021, switching to an all-digital format due to ongoing concerns about the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The move comes as Covid-19 cases in the US continue to rise, with recent spikes reported in the Southwest region where the conference is usually held.

In a statement on the event website, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) explained “it is not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person”, but added the new online format would still provide an opportunity “to safely share ideas and introduce the products that will shape our future”.

CTA said the online format will offer a “highly personalised experience” with access to keynotes, conference sessions, a product showcase, meeting and networking opportunities.

CES 2020 drew more than 171,000 attendees from 164 countries. In June, CTA said it was planning to preserve its physical presence in 2021, with the addition of digital conference components.

It targets a return to a physical event in Las Vegas in 2022.