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NPD: Consumer Indifference Toward 3D Rises

27 Jul, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

More U.S. consumers are aware of 3D movies and 3DTV, but aversion to 3D glasses remains leading purchase inhibitor

Consumer intent to purchase 3D products declined in May, with the exception of 3D video games, according to a new report from The NPD Group.

The Port Washington, N.Y.-based research firm, in its updated “3D 360-Degree Monitor” survey from last September, found that respondents were less inclined to purchase 3D, including watching 3D theatrical movies, than following the last survey in October.

“With the run-up to the holiday purchase season, the intent to purchase 3D televisions followed the purchase intent to buy TVs in general,” said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis at NPD. “As NPD's sellthrough data shows, sales of 3DTVs did indeed rise during the holiday season, but they have since receded due to the seasonality of major electronics purchases.”

Notably, 3D glasses remain the major barrier to purchasing, surpassing price of 3DTV as the most frequently cited objection, according to NPD. Even so, price still is a growing concern: 42% of consumers in May reported that prices were a barrier to purchasing a 3DTV, which is up from 38% last September.

The lone bright spot includes consumer awareness and interest in portable handheld 3D video games — underscored by the launch of the Nintendo 3DS in February. NPD said the combination of low price (compared with 3DTV) and a glasses-free 3D experience helped boost awareness to 3D gaming to 13% from 5% in October. A collateral effect is expected with the rollout of 3D smartphones later this year.

“With lighter and less expensive active shutter glasses, a mix of smaller displays and the entry of passive 3D technologies into the market, the industry is offering more 3D options to consumers,” Rubin said. “A greater array of Blu-ray titles, along with new digital delivery alternatives, is also helping to ease the path to 3D entertainment.”

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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