With LCD prices steadily on the decline, it seems odd that plasma display prices are increasing. But that's what's happening, according to IHS iSuppli, and the result is a declining share of plasma TV sales in the US.
Plasma's share of all TV types available at US retailers fell to 13.3 percent in July, down from 14.9 percent in June and from 15 percent in July 2011, the research firm said in a press release. The last time plasma accounted for such a small percentage of US television retail availability was the first quarter of 2011, when its share dipped to 11.6 percent, IHS reports. Edward Border, analyst for TV technology at IHS, said:
- Despite a brief resurgence in popularity during the second half of last year, the U.S. plasma business is undoubtedly a market on the decline. While this deterioration is part of a long-term global trend, the drop in plasma sales in the U.S. in 2012 is also due to consistently elevated pricing. The decrease in sales has reduced plasma's market share, allowing LCD TVs — plasma's traditional rivals — to further their dominance in the overall U.S. TV space.
Plasma makers are focusing on larger screens, IHS said, and prices have climbed to an average of more than $1,600 in July. This is 1.4 percent higher than June's figure.
In the meantime, LCD prices fell in July — part of an ongoing trend as evidenced by the difficulties faced by major LCD makers such as Japan's Sony and Sharp. Both companies reported losses in their recent fiscal quarters due in part to slow TV sales and declining LCD prices. At the start of the third quarter, prices declined for LCD TVs, which account for the majority of the flat-panel market, IHS reports. The declines applied to all types of LCDs, including 3D models, interactive and smart TV, HD sets and LED TVs. IHS adds:
- Pricing drops were relatively small, reflecting no great sales or discounts, but instead were a consequence of natural erosion as stores competed with one another. More aggressive price declines occurred as the London Olympics geared up, with even more cutthroat competition to ensue among brands and retailers. Overall, average retail pricing in July for all kinds of televisions in the American market fell to $1,171 — down from $1,194 in June, but up from $1,149 the same time a year ago.