EL SEGUNDO, USA: Deepening their penetration of the US television market, flat-panel liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs featuring light-emitting diode (LED) technology accounted for a little more than one-fifth of all US TV sets purchased in the final quarter of 2010, according to new IHS iSuppli research.
“LED-backlit LCD TVs made up 22.5 percent of TVs bought in the US market in the fourth quarter last year, up almost 3 points from 19.6 percent in the third quarter,” said Riddhi Patel, director for television systems and retail services at IHS.
“In comparison, a full three-fifths of consumer purchases were for LCD TVs featuring the older technology of cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL),” Patel added. “LED models are brighter, more power efficient and have thinner profiles, but they are also much more expensive than their CCFL counterparts, which explains the market disparity between the two flat-panel LCD technologies.”
The increased share of LED TV models solidifies the steady gains the technology has made since the second quarter of 2009 when it first appeared, Patel noted. In the fourth quarter of 2009, LED models only had 6 percent share, nearly four times less than what the latest totals indicate.
Plasma TV purchases remained flat despite aggressive end-market pricing, with sales growth hindered by the declining prices of LCD TVs in general as well as by consumer perceptions that plasma sports lower-grade specifications.
The figure shows the US market share of various TV technologies from the fourth quarter of 2009 to a year later in 2010.Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.
Changes in TV buying behavior traced to lower prices
A decline in US TV prices during the fourth quarter also resulted in various changes in purchasing behavior among Americans during the period, IHS iSuppli research indicates.
For instance, aggressive pricing and the easy availability of deals meant that 4 percent fewer consumers, down to 45 percent, spent less time researching the TV market before purchasing a set. Among those that counted themselves as having made an impulse buying decision, the number jumped from 18 percent in the third quarter to 20 percent in the fourth quarter.
The price drop that resulted from a combination of holiday sales and inventory oversupply in the fourth quarter also opened up the TV market to a larger demographic of consumers, increasing technological awareness among them.
For instance, the percentage of those who identified themselves as “following technology trends closely but only buying when the price is right” jumped 2.6 points to 41.59 percent—suggesting that their resistance to buying decreased in the face of lower TV prices.
Similarly, among those who said they “tolerated buying technology only out of necessity,” the numbers rose—a tacit concession to the power of attractive pricing, given that the pool of consumers who thought that new TVs had become a necessity actually increased during the period.
Buyers of all stripes continued to think picture quality was the most important criterion in buying LCD TVs, followed by price and screen size. Brand name was less crucial, and the importance of a set being Internet enabled dropped in the fourth quarter in favor of TVs that might not have the feature but were on sale.
Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.