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Consumers’ TV Purchase Intentions Spiked For Super Bowl

Despite an expected decrease in Super Bowl-related spending, consumers said they planned to buy more TVs for the big game this year than last.

According to the 2006 Super Bowl Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey — conducted last month by BIGresearch for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA), a division of the National Retail Federation (NRF) — fans anticipated buying 1.7 million new TVs in advance of last week’s Super Bowl, compared to 1.4 million sets that were purchased for the occasion in 2005.

BIGresearch’s strategy VP Phil Rist cited CE as a key category for “beef[ing] up retailers’ revenue.”

“Retailers look forward to the Super Bowl every year, knowing that it means big business,” he said.

Indeed, 2 percent of the 6,618 respondents queried by BIGresearch said they planned to purchase a TV for the Super Bowl. TV-intended males comprised 2.9 percent of all respondents and females 1.1 percent. Broken out by age, the 18- to 24-year-old group showed the greatest inclination to buy (4.5 percent), followed by 25- to 34-year-olds (3.6 percent). Fans between the ages of 55 and 64 were the least inclined to invest in a new set (0.8 percent).

On a regional basis, Midwesterners were most inclined to purchase a new TV for the big game (4.3 percent), perhaps reflecting the Detroit venue. Purchase intentions in the West, including the Seahawks’ hometown of Seattle, were actually the lowest at 1.0 percent of all respondents.

What’s more, nearly 40 percent of young adults planned to watch the Steelers and the Seahawks battle it out in HDTV, according to a new RadioShack survey conducted by Roper Public Affairs and Research.

But the projected TV sales gains came amid an expected decline in total Super Bowl-related spending (including refreshments, team apparel and home furnishings), from $5.6 billion last year to $5.3 billion for Super Bowl XL.

Given the midsized markets of the contending teams (and despite a halftime show featuring the Rolling Stones), some industry analysts predicted moderate sales of CE as well. To help boost pre-game business and clear out older inventory to make way for new 2006 models, brown-goods dealers turned up the promotional heat. For example, many chains, including Best Buy, Circuit City, Sears, CompUSA and ABC Warehouse, guaranteed delivery and/or installation in time for kickoff, based on varying deadlines.

Best Buy, for one, guaranteed delivery of in-stock TVs 37 inches and larger that were purchased as late as 7:00 p.m. the night before the game, although service had to be purchased by Jan. 28 to assure installation by Super Bowl Sunday.

Best Buy also offered what may be the industry’s longest no-interest financing terms yet: three years on home theater purchases totaling $999 or higher.

Good deals also abounded at Circuit City, where Sony’s 50W-inch Grand Wega SXRD rear-projection HDTV sold for $3,150 ($850 off the chain’s regular retail price), while customers saved $200 on Sony’s 32W-inch BRAVIA LCD panel ($1,800), which regularly sold at Circuit City for $2,000.

At Sears, all TVs were on sale two weeks before the game, including Toshiba’s 52W-inch rear-projection DLP set, which was reduced $500 to $2,000, while front-projection DLP units were promoted at CompUSA ($400 off the $1,500 Optoma DV10, plus free 92-inch screen) and RadioShack ($100 off its $1,100 Cinego D-1000 DVD combo).