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Panasonic, Sony Tops On Shelves

Panasonic and Sony enjoyed the benefit of strong television product placements in the August/September time frame, as Panasonic’s plasma TV retail shelf share soared to 21.97 percent, while Sony took top shelf-share positions in LCD TV and rear projection TVs, according to market research firm Current Analysis, based here.

According to firm’s monthly shelf-share report, Panasonic again paced all plasma television brands in retail placements at major U.S. retail chains in the period, followed by Samsung, which stayed in second place, despite a slide of nearly two points to 14.83 for the period.

At the same time, prices for 50W-inch plasma TVs remained stable — actually climbing 1 percent from August levels, and 42W-inch plasma prices dropped 9 percent from a $2,006 average sales price (ASP) in July/August to $1,826 for August/September.

Four new plasma models surfaced on selling floors in the period including the 42W-inch Philips 42PF9431D/37 ($1,499 ASP); the 50W-inch Pioneer PRO-FHD1 ($9,249); and Samsung’s 42W-inch HPS4233 ($1,981) and SPS4223 ($1,349).

In LCD TV, Sony returned to the top spot in retail LCD TV shelf share standings in the period with 12.23 percent of available product placements. The number was actually down 6 percent from July/August levels, but good enough for first place this period.

Sharp, which finished second in the category, also saw a decline in share during the month, from 14.04 percent in July/August to 11.79 percent in August/September.

Magnavox, meanwhile, surged ahead of sister-brand Philips and Samsung, moving from fifth place in August (7.04 percent) to third place in August/September (10.98 percent), said Currnet Analysis senior TV analyst Steve Kovsky, who attributed the 56 percent increase in shelf share in part to the introduction of two new 37W-inch LCD TVs, in the Magnavox 37MF331D and 37MF231D models, which appeared variously at Sam’s, Sears and Wal-Mart stores in the month. The brand also saw numerous new placements of existing models at Target stores.

In total, Magnavox grew its LCD TV placements from 21 percent in July/August to 28 percent in August/September.

New LCD TV products also appeared on retail selling floors under the following names: Advent, Akai, Audiovox, Funai, Humax, iLO, Insignia, JVC, Maxent, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, and Vizio.

In rear projection TV (RPTV), Sony remained on top, adding another 6 percent growth, for a total 24.64 percent portion of the U.S. shelf share pie. Samsung ranked second at 21.43 percent, while third-place Mitsubishi dropped 11 percent to post a 11.21 percent shelf share level for August/September.

Panasonic’s RPTV shelf share plummeted 32 percent in the period from July/August, to 8.7 percent of available product placements. Hitachi was the biggest gainer for the period, with 91 percent growth month-over-month, to reach fourth place with 9.24 percent, Current Analysis said.

Average sales price (ASP) tracking showed DLP-based RPTV sets standing their ground in period, falling only 2 percent to reach a $2,469. LCD-based projection TVs showed the heaviest price erosion, falling 6 percent from the previous month to $1,922 for September.

CRT- and LCoS-based sets declined another 5 percent, with ASPs of $1,097 and $2,973, respectively.

Current Analysis said Hitachi’s shelf-share gain for the month was directly affected by the appearance of its new 50W-inch, LCD-based unit at Wal-Mart stores. The 50C20 carries an $1,697 ASP.