NEW YORK —
The continued impact of a sustained economic
downturn which has made for more frugal TV shoppers
this year, has left manufacturers and retailers in the unenviable
position of having to clear merchandise around the
And while this may not come as good news
to vendors, who for
the most part have
resisted as much as
margins further on flat-panel
models, it should come as great
news to holiday shoppers looking
for bargains. But whether that
will be enough to bring customers
around this time out, is the multibillion-
Key analysts who monitor the
TV display industry are calling for
aggressive holiday marketing and
promotional activities from both manufacturers and retailers
to stimulate sales and move excess inventory that has
been building over the summer and fall.
“Currently there are a couple of things that are impacting
the TV market,” observed Riddhi Patel, iSuppli television
systems principal analyst. “Consumer spending is
down for CE, and consumer confidence is low. There are
general concerns around the economy and price declines
have not been aggressive. Also, when promoting features
like connected TVs, there is a lot of confusion.”
She added, “Consumers are interested but to fuel demand,
brands and retailers will have to go above and beyond
to show increased value for money and that is where
bundled deals may come in handy.”
Paul Gagnon, DisplaySearch North American TV research
director, said, “Since sales have been so soft
so far this year, there’s some urgency to try and save
the fiscal year with a strong showing during the holiday
season, which for all purposes extends into January for
TVs. With panel prices beginning to drop aggressively in
late July through September, and
continuing to decline through the
early part of next year, the product
costs are coming down, which
will make it easier for brands
and retailers alike to offer more
substantial discounts than we’ve
seen so far this year.”
Tamaryn Pratt, principal analyst
at Quixel Research, said she is
looking for small screen sizes and
40-inch flat-panel sets to continue
to be strongly advertised during
the holidays to generate traffic.
“However, compared to past years we anticipate fewer
consumers stepping to high-end sets,” she said. “Expect
manufacturers to turn the discount lever opportunistically
based on the inventory they need to move. As they have
all year, consumers should probably keep waiting until
their favorite flavor is on sale.”
Similar to the past several years, the price promoting
won’t wait until Black Friday, according to the analysts.
“I think we’ll see a similar early start to the promotional
season than we’ve seen for the last few years, kicking off
in early November,” said Gagnon.
“Like last year where we saw Thanksgiving deals across the whole week, this year too it could be a week
or even 10 days,” predicted Patel.
As for retailers, the chains expected to be
among the biggest movers and shakers once
again include Walmart playing against Best
Buy, said Gagnon, while iSuppli’s Patel said
she sees activity more or less “across the
board. Nationals will be aggressive but so will
the mass merchants and club stores.”
In some cases the activity this year could get
rough enough to ruffle feathers, she continued.
“A trend we are seeing is that the retailers are
showing interest in selling products below MAP
pricing set by the brands,” she said.
Key areas to watch will again include the 32-
and 37-inch screen sizes and 42-inch for LCD
TVs. In plasma, 42- and 50-inch models should
again be aggressively advertised, they predict.
“We are hearing $199 for 32-inch HDTVs
from opening price point brands and $249-
$299 for 32-inch HDTVs from tier 2 brands and
some premium brands as well,” said iSuppli’s
Patel. “Forty-two inch CCFL backlit HDTV pricing
should be around $499. There are some aggressive
deals that we will see for LED backlit
LCD TVs, too.”
Quixel’s Pratt said “most of the Black Friday doorbuster
prices will be led by third-tier, no-name brands
and a few sheltered models that the bigger brands will
sacrifice for the day. No-names will probably offer up
$99-$129 for 19-inch CCFL LCD TVs, $199-$229
for 32-inch, $449-$499 42-inch, and $599 46-inch.
Top tier brands will likely offer $259-$309 for 32-inch
CCFL LCD TVs, $529-$549 for 42-inch and $699 for
In plasma, Pratt said 2D 42-inch 720p models have
already been advertised as low as $397 and 50-inch
720p models as low as $579, “so it’s unclear how much
more they can do this year. There will be more value in
the 1080p 3D plasma product line up, with Black Friday
deals getting close to $1,399. Of course expect regular
50-inch 1080p below $1,000.”
As for LED LCD TVs, Pratt is looking for Black Friday
promotions on 40/42-inch 1080p LED sets starting at
$699, and 46/47-inch sets starting at $799.
DisplaySearch expects to see 32-inch 720p CCFL
LCD TVs for less than $300 and around $500 or less
for 40/42-inch 720p CCFL (60Hz) LCD models.
In plasma, 720p units should do well again this year with
42-inch HD prices appearing at around $400-$450 and 50-
inch HD around positioned at $600 or less, said Gagnon.
There was some difference of opinion among the analysts
as to which price segments would see the heaviest
promoting this year.
“Given that consumers appear to be a little conservative
in spending behavior this year, similar to last year, I
would expect a strong focus on entry price points and
not the push for advanced mid to high-end TVs that we
saw at the beginning of the year,” Gagnon said.
But iSuppli’s Patel said, “I believe that more aggressive
promotions will be around LED models in the larger
sizes and smaller CCFL ones. Even some smaller size
LEDs could see aggressive promotions specifically 19-,
And where will all the activity lead?
Patel said: “I believe that this year will be flat to down
over all. There is a high chance that the Q4 sell in for
2010 will be lower than Q4-09, for sell-in. This is because
of the existing inventory situation and caution by
retailers due to slower demand. I expect Q4-10 will be
higher than Q4-08 and flat or little lower than Q4-09.”
DisplaySearch’s Gagnon said: “We think there will be
some growth of sales from the 2009 to 2010 holiday
seasons, on a unit basis. This contrasts with mostly flat
to down year-on-year growth for Q1-Q3 of 2010.
Quixel’s Pratt is forecasting limited growth, around
2 percent, for the LCD TV category, “which is pretty
breathtaking compared to the 19 percent increase from
2009-2010. Total sales will top 31 million units in 2010
but we could also make a case for zero growth.