By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
NEW YORK – Retailers and manufacturers enjoyed a big-TV bonanza this Super Bowl season, if consumer research holds true.
According to reports, demand for new TVs for Super Bowl, particularly models 55 inches and larger, should provide the industry with a solid kick-off to 2013.
Overnight ratings said 108.4 million Americans watched the Ravens-49ers showdown. In pre-game polls 7.1 percent of all fans, across all income brackets, said they were in the market for a new TV, an increase of 39 percent over last year, a survey by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA) showed. Of those, young adults ages 18 to 24 were most likely to purchase new displays, and men were only slightly more inclined to do so than women, RAMA observed.
Separately, a study of online and mobile shopping trends by comparison shopping site and mobile app BuyVia found that the majority of TV searches over the past 60 days zeroed in on 55-inch panels. LED was the most looked-for display technology, with plasma representing less than 5 percent of searches, while three out of the five TVs most frequently barcode- scanned with handheld devices were Samsung sets, followed by LG and Toshiba models.
Only 5 percent of shoppers expressed an interest in smart features.
“When it comes to pre-Super Bowl purchases, clearly bigger is better,” said BuyVia CEO and cofounder Norman Fong. “Whether consumers are searching online or ‘showrooming’ in stores by scanning TVs for price comparisons, the 55-inch TV is king this year.”
Ben Arnold, industry analysis director for The NPD Group, believes even larger screen sizes – 60-, 65- and 70-inch panels – will be “the true MVPs of the increasingly revenue challenged TV market.” While 55-inch sets drove almost half of big-screen volume during 2012 Super Bowl week, unit sales of the largersized sets have doubled year over year during the first three weeks of 2013, and their share has grown to 7 percent of total sales, he observed in an NPD blog.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) new “Sports and Technology Study V” report, nearly a quarter of HDTV owners in the U.S. (22 percent) purchased their televisions for the specific purpose of watching the Super Bowl.
“No other sporting event comes close to prompting that many purchases of HDTVs. Accordingly, more adults surveyed identify themselves as fans of football (79 percent) than any other sport, including baseball (53 percent), basketball (51 percent), racing (28 percent) and hockey (27 percent),” the CEA said.
This year, the CEA predicted that Super Bowl fans used both televisions and Internet-connected devices to follow the game.
None of this was lost on retailers, for whom Super Bowl is the second most critical TV sales period after the holidays. Indeed, Best Buy pointed to NPD data showing that the week of the big game was the third most popular time for consumers to purchase 50- inch and larger TVs last year, behind just Black Friday and the week before Christmas. The chain also cited a Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) forecast of 1.7 million plasma and LCD TVs shipping in January.
Best Buy made hay Super Bowl week with steep discounts on TVs, including two 55-inch Samsung LED models: a 120Hz set for $900, representing a discount of $500, and a 240Hz smart 3D model for $1,500, a savings of $1,100.
The chain also extended its holiday price-match program for online and brick-and-mortar competitors; offered free shipping for online orders; and, in the event of buyer remorse, provided free home pickups of 46-inch or larger TV purchases.
Best Buy also offered AAA and AARP members and State Farm customers $580 off and free delivery on a package that includes a 60-inch Samsung plasma TV and Geek Squad installation, and aired its third consecutive ad during Super Bowl, this one featuring comedian Amy Poehler, which focused on knowledgeable sales support.
Elsewhere, last month’s Walmart promotions included a 70-inch Sharp LED TV for $1,598, a 60-inch Vizio 120Hz smart LED TV for $888, a 47- inch LG LED for $548, an Emerson 50-inch LCD for $498, a Samsung 5.1 HTiB for $248, and a Vizio soundbar and wireless subwoofer for $198.
At hhgregg, the chain offered up to 30 percent off TVs, major appliances and furniture, a new category for the company that includes chairs and recliners, sofas and love seats, TV stands and entertainment centers, and coffee and end tables.
Sale items included a 70-inch 120Hz Sharp Aquos, marked down 37 percent to $1,700; Sharp’s 60-inch, 120Hz Aquos for $900, a 47 percent savings; and a 51-inch, 720p Samsung plasma TV for $530, a savings of $120, hhgregg said. CEO Dennis May said during a recent earnings call that the chain would feature more opening-price- point tier-one TVs.
The chain also offered an extra 5 percent discount on TV and majap purchases of $499 or more made with the company’s private-label credit card, and special two-year financing terms were available in stores. – Additional reporting by Greg Tarr.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.