The effects of weakening consumer finances has created an environment of growing price sensitivity which, when coupled with the higher inventory figures retailers have been experiencing, has led to a surge of TVs being sold on promotion. From January through April of this year, 71% of TVs purchased in the U.S. were sold on promotion, according to The NPD Group. This greatly exceeds the 18% of units sold on promotion for the same period last year, as well as pre-pandemic levels. In fact, the share of TVs being sold on promotion during this timeframe is above holiday (Q4) 2021, 2020, and 2019 levels, based on a recent NPD Price and Discount analysis.
“After facing unexpected inventory challenges and high consumer demand, retailers are now finding themselves with an inventory surplus and are discounting TVs as well as products in other categories to move inventory out the door,” said Paul Gagnon, vice president, industry advisor for NPD.
This sharp uptick in TVs being sold on promotion is not necessarily reflective of what is being seen in the consumer technology industry at large. While consumer tech promotional activity has begun to rebound from the lows seen in 2021, it remains below pre-pandemic levels reported in 2019. Through April 2022, 24% of total CE units sold were on promotion. This is up two-points from the same time period in 2021, but three-points lower than reported in 2019.
“Over the last two years consumers shifted their CE spend as they bought products when they needed them, whether it was ahead of typical upgrade cycles or at a higher price outside of promotional periods, as they had technology needs that had to be met due to pandemic lifestyle changes,” noted Gagnon. “However, with a return to experiences and building inflation, a shift has begun back toward frugality. As a result, we expect the 2022 holiday season to look a lot more like pre-pandemic times, with higher rates of promotion to entice consumer spending in TVs and beyond.”
Source: The NPD Group, Price and Discount Trends. Promotion defined as having sold for >5% below full price.