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Study: Plasma TV Share Dipped In July

Plasma TV sales were hurt by rising prices, which acted as a disincentive to consumers, IHS iSuppli said in its “U.S. TV Price & Specifications Market Tracker.”

Plasma’s share of all TV types available at U.S. retail outlets fell to 13.3 percent in July, down from 14.9 percent in June and from 15 percent in July 2011, the report showed.

It was the lowest level since hitting 11.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

“Despite a brief resurgence in popularity during the second half of last year, the U.S. plasma business is undoubtedly a market on the decline,” stated Edward Border, IHS TV technology analyst. “While this deterioration is part of a long-term global trend, the drop in plasma sales in the U.S. in 2012 is also due to consistently elevated pricing. The decrease in sales has reduced plasma’s market share, allowing LCD TVs — plasma’s traditional rivals — to further their dominance in the overall U.S. TV space.”

Plasma TV prices climbed on average to $1,621 in July as manufacturers focused on larger screen sizes and higher-value sets. The July rate for plasma remains below the $1,649 level posted in May or the $1,638 mark reached in April, but it is 1.4 percent higher than the June figure of $1,598 and is also above plasma pricing levels from January to March earlier this year, the firm said.

Plasma saw share increases in the third and fourth quarters of 2012, after manufacturers and retailers lowered prices to lure critical holiday traffic. As a result, the average price in retail of plasma TVs fell to $1,494 in December of 2011, the lowest historical total on record.

IHS said it expects similar results in 2012, leading to slightly more model availability and slight price decreases, starting around September.

U.S. prices for flat-panel televisions, a category comprising LCD TVs and plasma sets, had risen to a more than two-year high in the second quarter. However, at the start of the third quarter in July, prices declined for LCD TVs, which account for the majority of the flat-panel market.

The decrease in LCD TV pricing for the month extended to all specifications, including 3D models, interactive smart TVs, FullHD sets as well as thin-panel styles sporting LED technology. Pricing drops were relatively small, reflecting no great sales or discounts, but instead were a consequence of natural erosion as stores competed with one another. More aggressive price declines occurred as the London Olympics geared up, with even more cutthroat competition to ensue among brands and retailers.

Average retail pricing in the U.S. for overall TVs dropped to $1,171, from $1,194 in June, but up from $1,149 at the same time a year ago.