Economy Fears Put Off TV Purchase Plans
By Greg Tarr On Sep 8 2011 - 4:01am
EL SEGUNDO, CALIF. —
U.S. consumers planning to
purchase televisions this year have plunged to record low
levels as Americans continue to worry about the volatile
economy, according to a new study from IHS iSuppli.
The IHS iSuppli “U.S. TV Consumer Preference Analysis”
report lists the results of a survey conducted during
the second quarter of 2011 showing that only 13 percent
of U.S. consumers who had not purchased a TV during
the past quarter are planning to buy a new set during the
next three to 12 months, down sharply from 32 percent
in the first quarter.
Some 83 percent of respondents said they had no intention
of buying a new TV set within the next 12 months.
This compares with the 66 percent of respondents who
said the same during the first quarter, marking the highest
negative level of response to the question since the
studies were first made public in 2010, IHS said.
The remaining 4 percent in the study represented
those who had received televisions as a gift, up from 2
percent in the first quarter.
“The latest survey indicates a tremendous shift in preferences
among an increasingly cautious buying public,
unnerved by the continuing gloom of the economy,” said
Riddhi Patel, television systems and retail services director
at IHS. “The findings suggest a growing willingness
among U.S. consumers to suspend — if not totally abandon
— their ongoing love affair with the television, the
primary entertainment device for many American households.
A sort of wait-and-see attitude has taken hold --
whether it is waiting for the economy to improve, or for
television prices to fall some more, or for the arrival of
better deals that combine both reduced prices and highend
Among consumers who bought TVs in the second
quarter, the most important criteria were picture quality,
price and screen size, IHS said.
Brand name has become a less important factor in the
purchasing decision because of the diminishing price differential
between different makes, IHS said.
More troubling, the study showed higher-end features,
such as connected TV systems and LED backlighting,
were also not seen as critical decision factors
in the purchase.
Still, IHS said, LED-backlit TVs accounted for nearly
30 percent of TV purchases in the second quarter, up
from 26 percent in the first.
Overall, televisions featuring LCD technology represented
86 percent of flat-panel TV sales in the second
quarter. Plasma displays accounted for the remaining
market, although plasma sets experienced an increase
in overall average pricing as well as favorability ratings,
due to new models’ larger sizes and advanced features.
A slight increase was detected in buyers going for
50-inch-and-larger sets, but IHS said the number of
people who purchased under-30-inch sets increased a
surprisingly high 38 percent, mainly for reasons of price
as retailers offered fewer and smaller discounts in the
As for so-called Smart TVs with Internet apps, the use
of Netflix among households soared to 66 percent for
new TVs connected to the Internet, and together with
Facebook, YouTube and games represented the mostaccessed
applications by consumers.
IHS said its recent survey was conducted among more
than 45,000 randomly polled U.S. households from a
continually refreshed pool of 2 million, with a margin of
error at 1.6 percent.
Further information is available in the report at www.isuppli.com