Market Watch

US Flat-Panel TV Pricing Climbs in August, Steadying the Market in Quiet Period before Crazed Holidays


Large-sized models increase their share of market; Sharp at the forefront
Pricing for U.S. flat-panel televisions stopped falling and stabilized in August, pausing for a moment’s breath before the market rushed toward the year’s busiest selling season during the boisterous Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, according to an IHS iSuppli U.S. TV Pricing and Specifications report from information and analytics provider IHS.

U.S. retail pricing for liquid crystal display televisions (LCD TV) and plasma display panels (PDP) closed at an average of $1,267 in August, up from $1,168 in July. The rise in August pricing immediately reversed the fall of the previous month, when July rates tumbled from $1,194 in June.  

US Flat Panel TV Pricing

While full numbers are not yet available for the recently ended month of September, no large increases are expected at the close of the third quarter just before the selling season starts in earnest during the fourth. The last quarter of the year is traditionally the strongest time for the U.S. flat-panel TV market—coinciding with the furious pace of sales over Thanksgiving, the day after on Black Friday, the new Internet push on Cyber Monday, and then onward to the barnstorming Christmas holidays.

Key developments in August included a perceptible rise in the share of large-sized TVs from their year-ago levels—to 2.9 percent for the 65-inch, up from 1.1 percent; and to 14.3 percent for the 55-inch, up from 12.7 percent.

The increase in market share for those two larger TV sizes came at the expense of the 32-inch, long the most popular dimension in the American market. The 32-inch still commands a 13.1 percent share, but that is down significantly from 17.3 percent a year ago in August 2011. Many older 32-inch models are being phased out, and the beloved fixture that used to be the prime choice for bedrooms and secondary living areas has now dropped behind the 46-inch in terms of sales.

August also saw a sharp increase in the proportion of models possessing high-end features, such as 3-D, Full HD (high-definition) specs and “Smart” Internet connectivity. In particular, Sharp and LG continued to increase their 3-D and Smart TV offerings compared to second-quarter levels. Approximately 57 percent of all TVs were Smart models for LG in August, while Sharp boasted an even higher 85 percent proportion, pushing its connectivity and Web-integrated features as a standard offering.

Sharp likewise has been pressing further into the high-end, large-screen LCD space. Of its TVs available on retail, 31 percent could be found in the 60-inch group, 26 percent in the 70-inch and 14 percent in the 80-inch—proportions much greater than in Sharp’s other rivals. 

In the plasma segment, the quantity of plasma display televisions remaining on the U.S. TV market stayed fairly stable in August, even though the segment itself has been declining as a whole compared to the much more robust-performing LCD sector. The three remaining plasma manufacturers—LG, Panasonic and Samsung—have been slowly pulling out of the plasma space and devoting more efforts to their LCD line.

Most of the plasma models scheduled for the current year are now out on the market at this time, and any other major changes to PDP displays will make their appearance in the next round of release, closer to the holiday period.

Read More >> US TV Prices Stablize Ahead of Sales Period