El Segundo, Calif. - U.S. LCD TV shipments are expected to reach 8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2009, up 7.3 percent from 7.5 million during the same period in 2008, according to a preliminary forecast from market research firm iSuppli.
The growth rate marks a contrast with the overall global consumer demand in the period, where significant revenue declines are expected from a year ago.
"iSuppli expects a strong fourth quarter and Black Friday for U.S. LCD TV sales," stated Riddhi Patel, iSuppli principal analyst. "Although most U.S. consumers already have purchased LCD TVs in the past, low prices now are luring them to buy new sets that have higher-quality images and improved features."
Pricing for premium LCD TV brands on Black Friday is predicted by the firm to fall to as low as $299 for some 32-inch HD sets and to $499 for select 42-inch HD models.
iSuppli estimated that 48.1 percent of all LCD TVs purchased by U.S. consumers in the third quarter were on sale, up from 39.5 percent in the second quarter and 37.9 percent in the first quarter. This trend bodes well for Black Friday sales.
Overall declines in LCD TV pricing beyond Black Friday deals are encouraging U.S. consumers to purchase upgrade or replacement sets, Patel reported.
Average U.S. pricing for 46- and 47-inch FullHD, 120Hz LCD TVs in the fourth quarter is set to decline to less than $1,000, the first time this has occurred.
Average pricing for 42-inch LCD TVs is set to fall to $639 in the fourth quarter of 2009, down from $768 during the same period in 2008. This is spurring increased purchases of 42-inch sets, stealing some market share from the dominant 32-inch size.
Premium models with LED backlighting are becoming more attractive to U.S. consumers for their energy savings, longevity, thin-design benefits and picture performance enhancements over conventional CCFL technology.
"Consumers who bought first-generation LCD TVs in 2003 or 2004 and paid $3,000 for 32-inch sets now are able to go to a retailer and spend less than $1,500 to purchase 42-inch LED-backlit TVs," Patel said. "The U.S. LCD TV segment is now a replacement market, where consumers want to buy products that look better than their first-generation sets. They are looking for premium features that provide a substantial improvement in terms of feature sets and quality. Sets with LED backlighting are being viewed by U.S. consumers as worthwhile replacement purchases."
The U.S. leads the world in sales of LCD TVs with LED backlights.
Average prices for 40- and 42-inch LED-backlit televisions fell to less than $2,000 in the middle of 2009, crossing a critical threshold that made them more alluring to consumers.
Consumers are also paying increased attention to so-called green televisions, including LED models that consume less power and employ fewer environmentally toxic materials.
"iSuppli's U.S. TV Consumer Preference Analysis service in the third quarter polled U.S. consumers who bought televisions and found that 45 percent said that green issues influenced their television-buying decisions," Patel said.
Lower power consumption was the green consideration cited most often by U.S. consumers.
LED-backlit sets consume 30 percent to 40 percent less power than those using CCFLs. LEDs also eschew the use of toxic mercury that is found in CCFLs.