November Flat-Panel TV Pricing Drops - Twice

November Flat-Panel TV Pricing Drops

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El Segundo, Calif. - November U.S. flat-panel TV pricing plummeted to their lowest levels in eight months, according to a study released Tuesday by

IHS iSuppli

.

Average pricing for LCD and plasma TVs dipped to $1,113.91, down 3.3 percent from the October level of $1,152.55, according to the IHS iSuppli U.S. TV Price & Specifications Tracker report. The November figure reversed a pricing uptick in October, and also was the lowest point since March when an average price of $1,086.64 was found/

"The November low reflects the usual trend of television prices beginning their descent as the holiday season begins, punctuated by the major discounts seen during Black Friday," said Lisa Hatamiya, IHS displays research associate. "This is also the time of sharp price reductions in the channel, with brands eager to move shipments to meet revenue targets and pushing out sets with older features to make way for new models in the coming year."

Television demand in the United States continued to weaken from escalating unemployment numbers, and poor consumer confidence.

Competition among manufacturers is extremely cutthroat at this point, exemplified by Black Friday prices that show how low manufacturers are willing to go in order to court the consumer.

The report found a 42-inch Sharp 1080p LCD TV at Best Buy for $200, and a 47-inch 3D LCD TV with a bundled Blu-ray player from LG at just $799 at Walmart.

In the LCD category, November prices were consistent with general trends and fell 2.7 percent on average to $1,020.

Compared to October levels, LCD TV prices in November slipped in a range of 1.5 percent to 4.5 percent in almost all categories.

The only exception was in the 21- to 29-inch segment, where pricing rose an unexpected 1.5 percent following increased demand for premium-branded TVs in that size class.

Within the LCD group, prices fell more among older LCD TVs featuring cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) technology, compared to their newer light-emitting diode (LED) counterparts, which sport thinner panels.

 Cold cathode fluorescent back-lit LCD TVs measuring 50 inches and larger, for instance, saw a drop of $201, compared to $54 for 40-inch-and-larger LED televisions, IHS said.

The large price reductions in CCFL are consistent with manufacturer goals to clear their inventories of CCFL-type LCD TVs going into 2012, in hopes of focusing greater sales efforts on LED-back-lit sets that provide greater margins.

Price declines were also measured in in 3D LCD TVs, with average pricing in November down to $2,201-a decline of 0.7 percent from October, and 27 percent less than the year-ago level, according to IHS.

Among plasma sets, average prices were down 4 percent in November to $1,533. Manufacturers are using 3D technology to keep prices and revenue higher, even as the category is phased out, altogether, IHS said.

With retailers now at their year-end pricing structure, TV prices are expected to continue their descent in December.

This should help boost sales for the fourth quarter, Hatamiya said, compensating for some low points in a year of generally weak TV sales.

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