EL SEGUNDO, CA — More than one-fifth of all televisions purchased by U.S. consumers in the first quarter sported displays that were 50 inches or larger, representing an all-time-high level, according to new IHS iSuppli (NYSE: IHS) research.
A total of 22.7 percent of American consumers bought the aforesaid television sets during the three months from January to March 2011, compared to 19.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.
The only other time when 50-inch-and-larger sets breached the one-fifth sales mark—or more than 20 percent—occurred a year ago during the first quarter of 2010, reaching the slightly lower level of 20.2 percent.
“The rising popularity of 50-inch-and-larger sets among U.S. consumers stems from pure market economics,” said Riddhi Patel, director for television systems and retail services at IHS. “Televisions have become less expensive for the consumer, allowing even bigger sets previously considered beyond the reach of most consumers to become accessible. Consumer demand for ever-bigger sets has not abated, with the acquisition of larger televisions viewed as highly desirable for ordinary American households.”
TV brands also have been promoting 50-inch-and-larger televisions in the market because the sets offered bigger margins and profits.
Average pricing for 50-inch-and-larger flat-panel televisions—i.e., liquid crystal display (LCD) and plasma—in the United States amounted to $1,582 in the first quarter of 2011, down 8 percent from $1,723 in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Smaller sizes still rule
Following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster, LCD TV production in Japan has reported minimal disruption. Though some TV assembly plants have been affected by semiconductor component shortages, the weak demand worldwide in recent months for general component inventories has meant that the TV markets suffered only very minimal impacts in the quake’s aftermath.
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