Strong December For Stereo TVs, While Jan. DTV Sales Also Solid

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Stereo direct-view color TV marketers closed out a record 1999 with strong December sales to dealers and got 2000 off to good start, according to figures just issued by CEA that also show a good January performance for sales of digital TV products.

In December, sales of stereo color rose 19.3% to 1.21 million to set a new high for the month. That put the fourth-quarter sales total at 3.78 million, up 7.5% for a new record for any quarter. The previous all-time quarterly high was 3.69 million set in the last quarter of 1996. Sales for the year of 12.5 million were up 4.3%.

In December, stereo color sales represented 57.8% of the overall direct-view color market, a new record high for any month and well up from the 52.8% of December 1998. But that wasn't enough to offset the market share slippage of other months during the year. For the quarter, stereo's share slipped to 53.6% of the market from the year-earlier 55%, and for the year it dipped to 53.7% from 53.8%.

The figures indicate that sales of monaural direct-view color TVs dipped 2.9% in December to 882,500, but for the quarter they jumped 13.6% to 3.27 million and closed out the year up 10.5% to 6.13 million. The gains reflected a strong comeback in the demand for lower priced 13- and 19-inch models.

As for digital TV products, January sales of digital TVs, set-top converter boxes and related products totaled 21,008 units, up nearly sixfold from the 3,652 units sold in January last year. That brings the historic sales total to 155,410 units.

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