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Flat-TV Shares Reshuffle

Plasma TV market leader Panasonic saw a huge jump in retail shelf share this month, while Sony reclaimed the LCD TV shelf-share lead from Magnavox, according to a report from market research firm Current Analysis.

Meanwhile, Sony, Samsung and Mitsubishi retained their top-three rankings in the rear-projection TV shelf-share category, commanding 22.93 percent, 17.3 percent and 12.36 percent, respectively, of April U.S. retail placements, the market researcher reported.

Steve Kovsky, Current Analysis DTV industry senior analyst, said shelf-share percentages tend to correlate well with sell-through market share.

He said Panasonic saw its plasma shelf-share lead climb more than 6 percentage points to reach 23.25 percent of retail product placements for April. The increase pushed Panasonic back into first place, dropping Samsung down 2.42 percent to the No. 2 spot for the month.

Hitachi, at 10.34 percent, and Philips, at 8.53 percent, took the third and fourth spots after seeing slight declines.

LG, meanwhile, jumped from the eight spot to No. 5 in the shelf-share rankings last month, with a 2.56 percent gain. LG’s gains thrust it ahead of Sylvania, Pioneer and Toshiba.

According to Current Analysis, the average street price for plasma TVs declined another 9 percent in April, to $3,309. In the 50W-inch category, a 5 percent overall price drop reduced the average selling price $213 from March, to $3,704.

Toshiba’s 42W-inch EDTV 42DPC85, which sold for $1,599 at Fry’s Electronics, was listed as the most steeply discounted item during the month, declining 20 percent from a $1,999 March street price.

A total of nine new plasma TV models entered the channel in April, as Panasonic and LG each introduced three models, while Maxent, Samsung and V Inc. (Vizio) accounted for the remainder.

In LCD TV, Sony regained the LCD TV shelf-share lead from Magnavox.

Current Analysis said Magnavox took the top spot in March, but dipped to second after Sony surged ahead with 13.77 percent of April product placements in major retail chains. Previous powerhouse Sharp saw its shelf share fall 1.91 percent from March, pushing the brand to the three spot with 12.08 percent, which Current Analysis said is a new low for the manufacturer.

Samsung remained in fourth place with 9.62 percent shelf share for April.

The market researcher said Funai’s Sylvania brand tallied the fastest growth in the month, gaining 2.05 percent to take fifth pace with 7.53 percent.

“The gain allowed the vendor to move up from a seventh place ranking in of 5.48 percent in March,” Kovsky said.

“The major changes in U.S. shelf share reflect further dilution of the retail market in April, as evidenced by the introduction of 30 new LCD TV models during the past month,” he continued.

Sharp, Sony, Samsung and Westinghouse Digital each launched five new models in the period, while LG and Panasonic both introduced two new models.

New LCD TVs from Akai, Philips, Sylvania, V Inc. and Zenith also appeared on selling floors.

In rear-projection televisions, Sony saw a 0.24 percent increase, while Samsung and Mitsubishi both recorded declines from March placement rankings. Panasonic, meanwhile, broke into the top five by growing 0.8 percent to 9.4 percent share from the previous month.

“While the price of [rear-projection TVs] as a whole dropped 2 percent during the month, the average sales price for a CRT-based projection TV actually rose 4 percent,” Kovsky observed. “LCD-based sets saw the biggest decline, falling 4 percent from the previous month.”

Only two new rear-projection TV models appeared on selling floors in April. These include the LCoS-based JVC HD-52BP6 ($2,549 at Best Buy) and the LCD-based Mitsubishi WD-52526 ($1,999 at CompUSA), Current Analysis reported.