NEW YORK –
Although TV sales growth has
slowed in the past year, holiday bargain shoppers
demonstrated on Black Friday weekend that the
category still rates highly on their electronics wish
lists, albeit, at less- than profit -healthy price points.
Top consumer display analysts who shopped
store floors during the Black Friday weekend found
TVs — particularly big-screen models — as some of
the strongest traffic movers of the period.
Stephen Baker, NPD Group industry analysis VP,
said in a Black Friday blog that TVs saw a 30 percent
increase in purchasers this year over last year
and passed computers as the most popular electronics
category (excluding video games.)
“While the advertising focus seemed to be on the
smaller screen TVs, that emphasis seemed to be
a bit misplaced, or at least redirected by the consumer
towards the deals available on larger screen
TVs,” Baker said. “..We saw a lot of small screen
(under 40-inches) products available at retail long
after the doorbuster rush had passed. The earlier
buyers this year were clearly the big spenders.”
According to research from online shopping aggregator
PriceGrabber and from anecdotal accounts by other
market analysts, Samsung’s 55-inch UN55D6000 FullHD
LED-edge-lit LCD TV appeared to be one of the top sellers
in the TV category for the day.
PriceGrabber had the set ranked first among topsearched
for consumer electronics products in all categories.
Among the most compelling product attributes of the
55-inch Samsung set, PriceGrabber said, was the inclusion
of Samsung’s Smart TV technology that allowed users
to easily search for movies, TV shows, and explore
Paul Gagnon, DisplaySearch North American TV market
research director, said shoppers in the Southern and
Northern California markets appeared to hit the stores
in waves throughout the day on Friday, with the heaviest
surges waiting for doors to open at midnight before thinning
somewhat by daybreak, and intensifying again later
in the day.
Of the TV specials that remained on the floor by 7 a.m.,
Gagnon said he saw more than 100 units of 32-inch Emerson
LCD TV for $188 at still stacked in a Walmart, along
with many other TV specials seven hours after going on
Some supplies also remained for specials on 40-inchand-
larger versions, but the bigger-screen specials appeared
to be more heavily favored than the deals for 32-
inch goods this year, Gagnon said.
“One Best Buy had 20 units of a $199 42-inch Sharp
LCD TV in-store special. As opposed to the 10 advertised,
they sold out within an hour, and the 60-inch Sharp
LCD TV for $799 sold out right by 7:30 a.m.,” Gagnon
reported in a Black Friday blog.
Overall, he said, holiday TV demand looked strong.
“We expected to see more in the way of 40-inch-plus
promotions for TVs, and the huge volume of 32-inch inventory
still remaining later in the day is perhaps an indication
that consumers indeed want larger sizes,” he wrote.
“The shipment share of 32-inch LCD TVs was much
higher in Q3 ’11 for North America than we expected, so
hopefully the later crowds will help clear the inventory of
smaller sizes, but it might have been an error to lean so
heavily on those 32-inch promotions when the pricing
wasn’t drastically different from a year ago,” Gagnon observed.
Gagnon later told TWICE that it was still too early to call
any big winners and losers on the day after such a narrow
sampling of stores, but “I did see a lot of the Samsung
55-inch LED (several friends bought it). The big volume
seems to have been from Funai (Emerson 32-inch LCD)
and Samsung (especially with 32-inch and 55-inch model
Sharp, he said, “had the big showy promotions, like
the 42-inch and 60-inch models at Best Buy, but I don’t
think the volume was very big. Also, Panasonic’s plasma
promotions seemed to be selling well.”
As for 3DTV, which has dominated much of the TV buzz
for the past two years, Gagnon said sets offering the feature
were “definitely not in people’s carts.”
Vizio, which has been a big Black Friday promoter in the
past, “was nearly absent with few promotions, even at Costco,”
Gagnon observed. “LG seemed to do OK as well.”
The allure of popular tier-one brand names didn’t appear
to carry as much weight this year as no-name models
moved heavy volume at aggressive price points, Gagnon
“I was pretty impressed by the number of Dynex and
Insignia private-label sets in people’s carts at a few of the
Best Buys I visited. I remember those were not strong last
year during Black Friday,” he offered.
Tamaryn Pratt, Quixel Research principal, said she observed
heavy shopper turnouts in both the Los Angeles
and Palm Springs areas at Target and Best Buy stores on
Thursday evening. Nearly 600 people lined up outside of
a Best Buy location in Manhattan Beach, Calif., to await
the official start of the sale.
Best Buy staff attempted to alleviate temper tantrums
by taking shoppers’ item requests as they stood online,
informing them when supplies had run out on an item. The
move proved to be prudent, she said.
“A person on our team was told by a Target employee
that a fight broke out in their San Francisco store over a TV
early Friday morning,” Pratt said.
Pratt cited a Sharp 42-inch LCD TV at $199 as “the
most talked about model” by her teams’ observations. She
estimated that 36,000 units sold during the doorbuster
“Of course, the 60- and 70-inch Sharp models were a
great deal, but those in the industry were expecting the
Black Friday price points in advance,” she added.
In large screen, a Toshiba 65-inch model advertised below
$1,000 on Amazon “almost trumped the Sharp prices,”
Other great TV buys on the day included a Panasonic
46-inch 720p plasma set at $299, Samsung’s 32-
inch LN32D403 LCD at $279, and Emerson’s 32-inch
LC320EMI-SF at $188.
“It was interesting that the alternative channels advertised
LCD TVs this year compared to last year,” Pratt said.
“Office Max and Staples both had LCD TVs in their Black
Friday circulars, and we haven’t seen much action in office
superstores in quite some time. I also saw no-name models
at RiteAid and Toys ‘R’ Us.”
Pratt also cited a common theme on the day
that big-screen sizes still rate highly with many
Mitsubishi reported sales were even better
than expected for their DLP rear-projection
Regional retail accounts sold out of the 73-
inch Mitsubishi DLP models for $999, which
Walmart had success with at $1,198.
Pratt pointed out that the Mitsubishi DLP
prices beat out Toshiba’s under-$1,000 65-
inch LCD price point as the big-screen bargain
of the day.
As for any projections that could be drawn
from the pre-holiday activity for the year
ahead, Pratt said, “Most retailers and manufacturers
are still very cautious. Many are not
sure if they should celebrate the Black Friday
She added that many worry that consumers
may have made their big expenditures on
Thanksgiving and are done for the year.