The bad news for the television market is that nearly three-quarters of U.S. consumers are not interested in buying a smart TV during the next 12 months, according to the results of a new survey conducted by the TV Systems Intelligence Service at IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS). The good news is that demand rises markedly when consumers are aware of what smart TVs are, showing that the product’s chances of success can improve with just a little market education.
A total of 73 percent of survey respondents said they are not interested in buying a smart TV during the next year, as presented in the attached figure.
Among consumers not aware of smart TVs, purchase intention for this type of television was just 7 percent. However, more than 30 percent of consumers that said they were aware of smart TVs indicated they intend to purchase this type of set during the next 12 months.
“The latest results of the IHS U.S. TV Consumer Survey show that TV makers have both a challenge and an opportunity when it comes to selling consumers smart TVs,” said Veronica Thayer, analyst for consumer electronics and technology at IHS. “Few consumers at present want to buy smart TVs now. However, demand can be cultivated if television brands better explain to consumers what smart TVs are, what they do and why they should buy one.”
Smart TVs have a strong focus on elements such as online interactivity, Internet television, home networking, over-the-top content and on-demand video streaming—capabilities not present in older television sets. Similar to how a smartphone integrates the handset’s operating system with a multitude of apps, smart TVs allow the convergence of the Internet with televisions.
Among those consumers who already own a smart TV, almost 90 percent connect their set to the Internet, and 80 percent of them have used their sets to access OTT services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon and Instant.
“This shows that alternative video services are becoming more popular and relevant among U.S. consumers,” Thayer observed.
Also noteworthy, the percentage of consumers using smart TVs to regularly access OTT services is similar to that for uses that stream content from Roku and Apple TV, with 86 percent and 79 percent of each device owner base respectively claiming to use such devices to watch Internet video.
The survey also revealed that 75 percent of smart TV owners possess a smartphone, and 65 percent have a tablet, which creates an opportunity for secondary-screen applications, including content discovery, content sharing/mirroring and remote control.
Another major finding of the survey is that consumers love big screens, but are getting more price sensitive.
In 2012 an IHS survey found that screen size was the main driver for TV purchases, with more than 50 percent of consumers stating it was a factor in their purchase decision. However, in 2013, price has overtaken larger screen size as the main TV purchase driver.
Neither smart TV nor 3-D TV has been a major motivation for consumer television purchases during the last two years. Instead, TVs featuring light-emitting-diode (LED) backlighting technology has been the success story in marketing. This is happening even though LED is garnering less attention in 2013 than it did in 2012 as it becomes more of a standard feature.
Smart TVs continue to have far more pulling power with consumers than 3-D TVs, with about two to three times more survey respondents indicating Internet connectivity was a consideration behind their TV purchase compared to 3-D.
The third-highest ranking TV purchase driver in 2013 was high-definition television (HDTV), increasing the opportunity for the future uptake of ultra-high definition (UHD) TVs once these become more affordable.
In other survey findings, more than one quarter of all U.S. consumers bought a new television last year, although the number of respondents indicating they would buy a set next year declined.
The 2013 survey revealed that 27 percent of consumers have purchased a TV within the past 12 months, and a further 20 percent intend to do so within the next 12 months, compared to 34 percent and 31 percent in 2012, respectively.
The US TV Consumer Survey – 2013 captures the average U.S. consumer’s opinions, preferences and purchase intention for televisions, along with the awareness, ownership and usage of certain features, including Smart TV, OTT services, connected devices, 3DTV and UHD TV.
This study’s sample of 1,000 participants is mapped to represent the most recent United States census.
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