Retailers Touted Big Screens For The Big Game



Steep promotions on 60-inch-and-larger displays, and a highly anticipated contest between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, helped Super Bowl XLVI live up to retailers’ expectations as the most important TV selling cycle of the year.

“Our members enjoyed a strong holiday season, but Super Bowl was proportionately stronger,” reported Doug Schatz, CE merchandising VP for the 3,000-dealer Nationwide Marketing Group. Driving the uplift was a combination of promotional efforts and the draw of two highly visible teams representing large, densely populated metropolitan areas, he said.

Promotions included Nationwide- provided collateral such as TV commercials, circulars, extended- term financing, and delivery and installation rebates, which were layered on top of vendordriven programs.

The latter, said Rayman Cheng, VP/ general merchandise manager of consumer electronics at Sears Holdings, were particularly compelling. “There were some really hot promotions, like those around Black Friday,” he told TWICE. “The offers were very strong, basically ‘bigger for less,’ with 70-inch panels selling for less than the price of 55-inch displays last year.”

Indeed, Sears offered a 70-inch LCD-LED TV from Sharp for $1,899.88, a savings of $900 on the chain’s largest flat-panel display, while prices for 60-inch sets fell even farther. Best Buy kicked off the Super Bowl promo period by presenting Sharp’s 60LE300 LCD LED for $999; Walmart lowered Panasonic’s entrylevel 60-inch S30-series 2D plasma to $898; and LG’s 60-inch 60PV450 plasma was selling for as low as $799 on Jan. 20, reported

, an online clearinghouse for CE shopping information.

To help get the word out, Sears’ divisional VP and chief marketing officer for electronics Audrey Broxterman revisited the company’s “Ultimate Football Experience” campaign, which was launched with the start of football season last fall. The effort included in-store signing, digital and radio ads, TV spots on ESPN, special credit and cash-back offers, and additional training for sales associates.

Unlike Black Friday, when consumers are seeking gifts and deals, Super Bowl shoppers buy for themselves, Broxterman explained, and are looking to recreate the stadium experience at home through oversized displays, improved picture quality and audio attachments like soundbars and HTiBs.

That, agreed Nationwide’s Schatz, makes Super Bowl the most valuable selling season on the calendar. “Customers are more likely to buy better, more fully featured, higher-ticket TVs” and complete purchases that include audio, furniture, installation, high-quality cables and other accessories that make for a larger and more profitable transaction, he said.

Consumers, even before the ads hit, were already primed to make a TV purchase, pre-game surveys showed. According to a poll by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA) and BIGinsight, 5.1 percent of consumers, or 5.1 million shoppers, said they intended to buy a TV for Super Bowl, up from 4.5 million last year and 3.6 million in 2010.

A separate survey by

suggested that one out of four shoppers were considering buying a new TV before Super Bowl, and 63 percent planned to spend more on the new set than they did on their last TV purchase.

Also boding well for the final retail sales tallies was the game’s record viewership: 111.3 million people tuned in – including 2.1 million who streamed it live online – making Super Bowl XVVI the most watched television show in U.S. history, according to Nielsen estimates.


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