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Sony, Panasonic Hold DTV Leads

Sony reclaimed the lead position in LCD TV retail shelf share and retained the top spot in rear projection HDTV placements during November, while Panasonic built its lead in plasma TV, according to a TV brands shelf share report from market researchers Current Analysis.

In LCD TV, Sony added 23 percent in November from the prior month to reach 15.61 percent of available retail shelf share.

Samsung and Magnavox both saw their shelf shares increase during the month, reaching 12.15 percent and 11.18 percent, respectively, Current Analysis said.

Meanwhile, Sharp experienced a 4 percent decline, dropping from 11.34 percent in October standings to 10.95 percent for the recent period. The setback allowed Magnavox to move ahead on Sharp and claim third-place honors, said Steve Kovsky, Current Analysis digital television principal analyst.

Sony’s surge in product placements was fueled by the introduction of two new retail models, the 32W-inch KDL-32S2400 ($1,699 at Fry’s Electronics) and the 40W-inch KDL-40S2400 ($2,299 at Fry’s and Sears).

Syntax added the most new SKUs during the month with four model additions at CompUSA and BJ’s Wholesale Club.

Current Analysis’ Trendline analysis saw the average selling price (ASP) of standard aspect ratio LCD TVs drop another 5 percent since October. However, 16:9 aspect sets experienced a net increase of 6 percent in ASP this month, from $1,502 to $1,593.

In the plasma category, Panasonic spread its retail reach another 3 percent in November, to achieve a November 2006 retail plasma TV shelf share of 23.49 percent.

Kovsky said “this month’s mover and shaker” was Philips, which grew 25 percent from October to take second place, ahead of Samsung and Hitachi, with a November shelf share of 12.72 percent.

Samsung remained in third place with 11.76 pecent, despite a month-over-month drop of 11 percent in its share of U.S. retail plasma TV placements, according to Current Analysis. Hitachi’s share fell to 10.96 percent, an 11 percent drop from its October share of 13.04 percent.

“Philips’ good fortune was fueled in part by the introduction of the 50W-inch 50PF9431D/37 at Costco for $2,099,” said Kovsky. “Maxent, Samsung, SVA and V Inc. also launched new models in U.S. retail stores during November.”

The firm’s Trendline analysis showed average ASPs of 42W- and 50W-inch TVs falling another 8 percent from October 2006 levels.

“In practical terms, this meant an average drop of $137 in the sales price of 42-inch plasma sets in November, and a $220 reduction in the ASP for 50-inch plasma TVs,” said Kovsky.

In November rear-projection TV placements, front-runners Sony and Samsung both saw their shares shrink. Sony remained in first place despite a 20 percent reduction, falling to 20.1 percent of available placements at major U.S. retail chains this month, said Current Analysis. Meanwhile, Samsung fell 19 percent, dropping to a 17.99 percent shelf share for November.

Mitsubishi jumped ahead of RCA in November, racking up shelf share of 13.29 percent for November.

“That represents a jump of 19 percent, or 2.48 points, to a shelf share of 13.29 percent for the current period,” Kovsky said. “RCA held onto fourth place in the rear projection TV race with a November RPTV shelf share of 11.46 percent.”

Mitsubishi’s month-over-month growth was assisted by the introduction of two new models to the retail channel: the WD-62530 ($1,799 at Costco) and the WD-62531 ($2,449 at Sears). New models were also launched in November by Akai, Magnavox, Philips and Toshiba, Kovsky reported.

The November pricing Trendline analysis for the category showed, LCoS-based projection TVs dropped precipitously from October levels. In October, the ASP for an LCoS TV was $3,022. Since then, LCoS ASP has fallen $345 to $2,677 for November, a 13 percent drop, Current Analysis said.