Retailers singled out a 3,000:1 contrast ratio and bright picture as the leading factors behind the success of Panasonic's second-ranked plasma display panel — the PT-42PD3-P — last year.
"A combination of value — Panasonic is less expensive than many models — and picture quality was a winner for that product," said Tom Campbell, spokesman and advisor to West Coast specialty chain Ken Crane's . "They had a better than 3,000:1 contrast ratio, which is outstanding."
John LaRegina, senior buyer for New York-area TV/appliance chain P.C. Richard and Son, agreed.
"They developed a screen for that product that eliminated a lot of glare," he said. "It has a really well made anti-reflective flat panel. On the floor it just jumped off the wall."
Noah Herschman, Tweeter marketing VP, pointed to a strong cosmetic appeal added to an already hot flat-panel form factor as a sales driver.
"Panasonic makes very good products, and their plasma TVs are outstanding looking," he offered.
LaRegina noted that Sony and Panasonic "are fighting it out in the 42W-inch screen size," for top positioning, but availability issues hurt Panasonic. "We sold more of the Sony, but only because we had some supply problems. I would have sold twice as many [of the PT-42PD3-P] if I had them," he said.
In general, retailers said, the plasma category is rapidly growing into a major factor, causing the stores to install plasma and LCD display deparments.
"Plasma is pretty easy to sell right now. It's gone from being 3 percent of our sales to being 8 percent of our sales, and it is closer to 13 percent in our Sound Advice stores, Herschman said. "Right now we are merchanding them in our sound rooms, but we are working on getting a better consolidated flat panel display."
Tweeter, he said, advertises the plasma category heavily and has used the Panasonic PDP in many of those spots.
"There is nobody who doesn't want one of these things and the best thing about it is that the wife acceptance factor is very, very high," he said.
Top 10 Plasma Flat- Panel Displays
May 2001- April 2002
Rank By Unit Sales
Rank By $Sales