The CeBIT technology show in Hanover saw a 6% fall in visitor numbers this year, the fifth year in a row the event has seen a decline.
Organisers had predicted before this month’s event that show numbers would be around the same as last year.
The show, which has been going for 20 years, saw 450,000 visitors this year. While it is still the world’s biggest technology fair, organisers will be concerned that its magnetism is on the wane.
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Numbers attending CeBIT have been falling since the technology bubble burst in 2001, and the show now also faces stiffer competition from Berlin’s IFA consumer electronics show, which takes place in September.
IFA used to take place every two years, but it is now an annual event. Last year, it attracted 250,000 visitors.
The numbers visiting consumer electronics shows in the US are also up, as the barriers between consumer and business IT become blurred.
The leaders of the biggest technology companies are also increasingly choosing to deliver keynotes at consumer-orientated shows. Microsoft’s Bill Gates is now a regular at the CES show in the US, for instance.
Comdex, the largest US business IT show was axed in 2004.