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Report: HDTV Sales Disappoint

25 Feb, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Post-holiday distributor sales of high-definition televisions fell significantly compared to the same period last year, according to new research data.

Pacific Media Associates, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based research firm, said sales of HDTV units dropped 37% in January, while North American inventory levels increased 68% compared to the same period last year.

Sales of HDTV are key to consumer adoption of HD packaged media and considered a barometer to general consumer interest in HD entertainment.

“These results are in sharp contrast with January 2007 results,” said Pacific VP Rosemary Abowd. “Last January saw an 18% increase in unit sales over December 2006, and inventories declined 7% over that period. This year's results run in the opposite direction.”

Principle inventory increases occurred among the 30-inch to 34-inch screen sizes, typically, the most affordable HDTV units.

Sony continued to lead market share in HDTV sales with 35% followed by Viewsonic with 21% share, according to the report.

Abowd said distributors were hamstrung by excessive inventory stockpiling in December that never materialized into sales.

Culprits for the slackened consumer interest included higher food and energy costs, tighter credit, and uncertainty about jobs and the economy, according to the report.

Economic fundamentals suggest a silver lining regarding excess inventory that will likely lead to a price reduction, according to Abowd.

“These remaindered units will likely push the average street price down for this segment in the coming months,” she said.

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