EL SEGUNDO, USA: The onset of the US National Football League (NFL) season propelled higher sales of large-sized flat panel televisions in October, pushing up overall TV prices in the United States by 1.5 percent and reversing a two-month decline in the process, according to the IHS iSuppli US TV Price & Specifications Tracker report.
After dipping 0.4 percent in August and then sliding another 0.8 percent in September, average US prices in October rose 1 percent to $1,153 for flat-panel TV sets, a category consisting of liquid crystal display televisions (LCD TV) and plasma displays. The slight uptick was attributed primarily to a 2 percent increase in the sales of 50-inch-and-larger flat-panel TVs, which helped compensate for price declines ranging from 0.5 percent to 2.0 percent in many smaller size groups.
The October pricing level is the highest yet for 2011, exceeding the $1,150 reached in July this year. The higher pricing appeared in October, coinciding with the beginning of a new quarter, when manufacturers normally start out with higher pricing that then levels off as the quarter wanes.
“The recent sales spike in large-sized TVs attests to the fervid enthusiasm that sweeps American TV viewers during each NFL season, whose run starts in September and culminates with the Super Bowl championship game in February,” said Lisa Hatamiya, displays researcher for IHS. “Many of these football fans gravitate to larger sets, with displays 50 inches and bigger, driving growth in that size range.”
The football effect, however, fails to mask compensate for overall weak TV sales trends in the United States. Despite the October surge, total third-quarter TV shipments were sluggish, and the industry is bracing itself for a slow holiday season this year. Brands also are being very cautious about building up inventories, due to fears of continuing poor sales resulting from an uncertain economy.
LED TV pricing rises
Among LCD TVs, pricing was up in October by $32 for 50-inch-and-larger sets sporting the advanced light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting technology. In comparison, LCD sets in the same size range using the older cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) technology saw pricing fall by $132 on average.
As in the umbrella flat-panel category, a 1 percent increase took place during October in the LCD TV segment, with pricing in October reaching $1,049. Average pricing was much higher, however, for 3-D LCD televisions, which also crept up 1 percent to hit $2,216.
In the plasma market, pricing in October rose a slightly higher 2 percent to arrive at $1,596. The 2 percent hike showed up too in the 50-inch-and-larger category that was dominant in the plasma space, but pricing fell otherwise in the smaller size ranges—down 14 percent in the 30- to 39-inch group, and down 1 percent in the 40- to 40-inch segment.
Among channel outlets, regional and club stores like HHGregg and Sam’s Club that hold a higher percentage of large-sized TVs enjoyed the biggest pricing increases—up to 4 percent—as they benefited from football-driven sales. Conversely, the largest pricing declines—amounting to 7 percent—occurred in office stores like Office Depot, which tend to carry smaller-sized television sets in their locations.
Going into the last two months of the year, retailers and brands are expected to focus all their efforts on driving sales and moving inventory, timed to coincide with the upcoming Black Friday and end-of-year holiday promotions, when significant levels of consumer dollars will be in play.
Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.