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Sony, Panasonic Take The Shelves

Retail placements of advanced digital television displays began 2007 much as they finished 2006 — with Sony holding onto the top brand positions in flat-panel LCD TVs and rear-projection TVs, while Panasonic continued to pace all plasma challengers, according to the Current Analysis TV Displays Shelf-Share Report for January.

The market research firm said that in LCD TV “Sony managed to stay No. 1 in LCD TV product placements, attaining 12.89 percent of available retail share. Samsung, Sharp, Magnavox, Polaroid and Philips each saw their shelf shares slightly increase during the month but stayed at their previous rankings since December, reaching 12.69 percent, 10.37 percent, 9.39 percent, 8 percent and 6.94 percent, respectively.”

In fact, activity in the LCD TV shelf-share standings stayed relatively stable in January, Current Analysis observed, with the exception of the iLO brand, which climbed into seventh place with 4.03 percent of available product placements. The brand added 1.1 percentage points to its December 2006 standings, jumping up from 12th place in December.

In the month, a number of new LCD TV products were introduced in preparation for the Super Bowl. Brands launching new models included Audiovox, Mitsubishi, Polaroid, Sylvania and Syntax.

In the plasma category, Panasonic lost some share after the widely hyped TH-42PX6U disappeared from Wal-Mart, Current Analysis observed. The company’s market-leading shelf-share standing for plasma slipped 3.97 percentage points from December, but still ended with 21.19 percent to hold the No. 1 overall spot. Philips, which added 1.75 percentage points, was second with 13.89 percent of plasma retail placements in January.

Samsung took the third spot with a shelf share of 12.7 percent, up slightly from 11.05 percent last month. Hitachi also nudged upward, from 8.73 percent in December to 8.8 percent in January, while Pioneer’s shelf share dropped to 8.51 percent.

Current Analysis said the average selling price of a 42W-inch plasma TV continued to drop, falling another 4 percent since December 2006, while 50W-inch plasma prices registered a net decrease of 2 percent in average selling price from $2,674 to $2,607 in January.

In rear-projection TV placements, Sony continued to hold a slight lead over Samsung for the top shelf-share ranking in January, but RCA switched places with Mitsubishi to take the third spot, while Mitsubishi dropped to fifth. Current Analysis credited the additional placement of RCA’s HD44LPW62 at Target with enabling RCA’s move to 11.72 percent shelf share. Panasonic, which dropped in the period, took fourth place with 10.22 percent share.

Sony’s retail placements increased 4 percent, for a total 23.45 percent in January, while Samsung held steady at 20.88 percent in second place.

The average selling price dropped 12 percent for DLP-based RPTV sets in January to $2,242. LCD-based projection TV prices dipped 1 percent from December to $1,754 in January. CRT- and LCoS-based sets shed another 9 percent and 3 percent to $1,061 and $2,752, respectively.