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Hitachi Survey Sees Bright Flat-Panel Future

6/13/2007 03:21:00 PM Eastern

Chula Vista, Calif. — In a sign that flat-panel TV sales should continue to escalate significantly over the next year, a recent consumer study conducted for Hitachi Home Electronics America found that seven in 10 U.S. adults either own or want to own a flat-panel TV, and women will participate in the buying decision in almost half of all interested U.S. households.

The nationwide “random digit dial” telephone survey was conducted for Hitachi by KRC Research between May 18 and 21, 2007 and reached 1,055 adults, age 18 and older. The margin or error was said to be  ±3.0.

The study found that one in five American consumers (19 percent) already own a flat screen television, and an additional 52 percent are interested in purchasing one (71 percent own or want to own a flat panel).

The following subgroups are more likely to already own a flat panel television:

  • incomes greater than $50,000 (30 percent) vs. incomes less than $50,000 (9 percent);

  •  households with children (24 percent) vs. households without children (16 percent);

  • men (23 percent) vs. women (16 percent);

  • metro area residents (21 percent) vs. non-metro area residents (13 percent); and

  • Hispanics (26 percent) & Caucasians (20 percent) vs. African Americans (9 percent).

Among those interested in buying a flat-panel TV the study found the following:

  • consumers with incomes greater than $50,000 (70 percent) vs. incomes under $50,000 (49 percent);

  • households with children (63 percent) vs. households without children (53 percent);

  • African Americans (68 percent) vs. Caucasians (54 percent); and

  • adults under 65 years old (61 percent) vs. seniors 65 years old and older (37 percent).

The study also found that “when it comes to buying a new television, bigger is better. American consumers now aspire to own 50-inch and 60-inch screens.

Nearly two in three (64 percent) of consumers looking to buy a television are likely to purchase a larger television than the one that they currently have.

The following subgroup breakout shows the level of interest in buying a big-screen set:

  • households with children (74 percent) vs. households without children (58 percent);

  • those with incomes greater than $35,000 (71 percent) vs. incomes less than $35,000 (59 percent); and

  • adults under 65 years old (68 percent) vs. seniors 65 years and older (38 percent).

American consumers now aspire to own 50-inch and 60-inch screens.

If cost was not a factor, a plurality of American consumers say that they want a television 50 inches or larger diagonally (37 percent), compared with 23 percent who would want a 42-inch television and 35 percent who would want a 35-inch TV or smaller.

The following subgroups are more likely to be interested in a TV with a 50-inch or 60- inch screen:

  • men (43 percent) vs. women (32 percent);

  • adults age 18-24 (55 percent) vs. 25-34 (47 percent) vs. 35-44 (41 percent) vs. 45-54 (36 percent) vs. 55-64 (31 percent) vs. 65+ (15 percent); and

  • households with children (47 percent) vs. households without children (31 percent).

HDTV is sought after by consumers and picture quality is most important.

In selecting a new television, six in 10 Americans said picture quality is the most important factor when price is not a factor. The second-most important factor was brand (most important to 11 percent) and screen size (9 percent).

If purchasing a new TV for their home, more than three in four American consumers (78 percent) are interested in purchasing a television with HDTV capability and half (52 percent) are very interested.

The following subgroups are more likely to be interested in HDTV:

  • those with incomes greater than $35,000 (85 percent interested) vs. income less than $35,000 (69 percent); and

  • adults under 65 years old (81 percent) vs. seniors age 65 and over (60 percent).

Despite an interest, most American consumers are uncomfortable explaining HDTV technologies, the study found.

Two in three American consumers (66 percent) say that they would not be comfortable explaining the different types of high definition options available today (720p, 1080i and 1080p). More than one in five (22 percent) said they would be comfortable explaining it.

The following subgroups are more likely to be uncomfortable explaining the different types of high definition options available today:

  • women (76 percent uncomfortable) vs. men (55 percent);

  • adults with at least some college education (72 percent) vs. adults with no college education (59 percent); and

  • adults in the Northeast (73 percent) and Midwest (72 percent) vs. adults in the South (62 percent) and West (61 percent).

A similar percentage (62 percent) say they would be uncomfortable explaining the different types of HD display options available today (DLP, LCD and Plasma). Three in 10 (31 percent) would be comfortable.

The following subgroups are more likely to be uncomfortable explaining the different types of HD display options available today:

  • women (73 percent uncomfortable) vs. men (51 percent); and

  • adults with at least some college education (68 percent) vs. adults with no college education (56 percent).

The study found that women participate in purchasing decisions for electronics in almost half of households.

When households research big electronic purchases, 53 percent of American consumers say the adult male is more responsible, 25 percent say the adult female is more responsible and 20 percent say they are both equally responsible. Overall, 73 percent of decisions involve a male and 45 percent include a female.